Saxophone Quartet (SATB)
Hymns and Carols are the two main sources for the melodies that are associated with traditional Christmas music. While hymns are predominately sacred, the historical roots of carols are in religious and pagan folk music and dance. The latter association with pagan and dance music has throughout history brought carols alternatively in and out of favor with Christmas worship. Fortunately, interest in Christmas music has grown in the 20th century, and has led to the popularity it presently enjoys.
Gloucestershire Wassail is associated with an English custom that was observed at Christmas time. A large, decorated bowl of spiced ale was hoisted through town by a group of carolers – Yule serenaders – in a tradition that has its roots in the beggars of the Middle Ages and Pagan festivals. The tune is therefore associated with Christmas revelry and joy. Gloucestershire Wassail probably dates from the 18th century, and is considered a traditional English tune.
This arrangement for saxophone quartet, rather than favoring a soprano solo with accompaniment, strives to include all the players in the music making, particularly by distributing melodic material. In addition, all dynamics and articulations should be taken as suggestions only, as performers are encouraged to make their own interpretations.