Favourite Classical Christams Song/Carol

DanielFullard
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Favourite Classical Christams Song/Carol

Post by DanielFullard » Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:17 pm

Sorry about all these threads but Im bored and thought Id start a few threads

Anyway......seeing as we are getting ever-closer to the most wonderful time of the year I thought Id ask what everyones favourite Classical Christmas song/carol is

Id go for "o Holy Night" which just fills me with Joy every time I hear it

Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:24 pm

Although I'm weary of listening to Christmas music already the French carol Un Flambeau, Jeanette Isabella (Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella) is always good to hear.
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jbuck919
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Re: Favourite Classical Christams Song/Carol

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Dec 01, 2005 3:28 pm

DanielFullard wrote:Sorry about all these threads but Im bored and thought Id start a few threads

Anyway......seeing as we are getting ever-closer to the most wonderful time of the year I thought Id ask what everyones favourite Classical Christmas song/carol is

Id go for "o Holy Night" which just fills me with Joy every time I hear it
Forgive me, I rarely dispute taste here (in fact I'm not disputing exactly taste right now), but I associate Cantique de Noel by Adolph Adam with an assemblage of Victorian maudlin religious numbers including the thing called The Holy City (ironically by a man named Adams) that used to be so common on Palm Sunday. As a church musician I cannot help these associations. I remember even as a teenager bursting into laughter when I heard Robert Merrill of the Metropolitan Opera crank up O Holy Night at a broadcast Midnight Mass from St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. I already knew in what a sorry state practical Catholic music was, but couldn't believe after hearing fine things from the Anglican counterpart, St. John the Divine, that they couldn't do better than that within their own tradition.

I find it impossible to have one Christmas favorite that is in the nature of a carol. I'm sorry, I've just heard and/or played and/or sung too much fine Christmas music of that genre in my years as an organist and chorister.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Muriel
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Post by Muriel » Thu Dec 01, 2005 7:19 pm

"There is no rose of such virtue, As is the rose that bare Jesu"

res miranda

mahlerfan
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Post by mahlerfan » Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:48 am

I'm going to here Lutoslawski's Polish Christmas Carols soon and Penderecki's Christmas Symphony as well. So I'll wait... they might blow my mind and become my favs. :D

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Post by DavidRoss » Fri Dec 02, 2005 5:45 am

Hail, Mary, Gracious from Adams's El Niño
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Post by MaestroDJS » Fri Dec 02, 2005 7:41 am

I can't choose just one Christmas carol, although my top 3 might be Joy to the World by Georg Friedrich Händel, Hark the Herald Angel Sing by Felix Mendelssohn and Cantique de Noel by Adolphe-Charles Adam. However, I can get 5 for 1 with my favorite Christmas piece of all, Une Cantate de Noël (A Christmas Cantata) by Arthur Honegger, which in its central section quotes 5 German, French and English Christmas carols simultaneously in their original languages.

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia - Program Notes
Arthur Honegger: Une Cantate de Noël
http://www.mcchorus.org/prognt13.htm
Honegger began work on Une Canate de Noël in 1940 in collaboration with the Swiss poet Caesar von Arx, whose La Passion de Selzach formed the basis of the libretto. When von Arx committed suicide following the death of his wife, Honegger put the work aside until 1953, when he received a commission from the Basel Chamber Orchestra. Scored for baritone, chorus, children's chorus and orchestra, the work was premiered in December, 1953 and was to be Honegger's last composition.

Honegger imbued the cantata with a dramatic sweep, viewing it as the progression of man from darkness into light. After a somewhat dissonant instrumental introduction, the chorus enters with a wordless lament, like a longing for something imperfectly perceived, something which cannot be put into words. When it is finally articulated, Honegger uses the opening lines of Psalm 130, "Out of the depths I cry unto thee; O Lord, hear my voice." It seems an unusual text for a Christmas cantata, especially since that text is used liturgically in remembrances of the dead, but the psalm continues, in text which Honegger does not set but rather implies, "Let Israel wait for the Lord, for with the Lord is mercy, and he will redeem Israel from all their sins." This becomes explicit as the chorus builds to an anguished cry O viens Emmanuel! (O come, Emmanuel!) The children's chorus, like a choir of distant angels, provides a reassuring reply while the baritone solo sings the words the angel spoke to the shepherds announcing the birth of Christ.

The middle section of Une Cantate de Noël is in the form of a quodlibet, with five different Christmas carols being freely quoted. The effect is unusual, though, for the carols are sung simultaneously, with phrases or even single words being passed from voice to voice within the chorus. At one point carols in both duple and triple meters are being sung simultaneously. Honegger was a great admirer of the polyphonic style of Bach and this section represents polyphony in a thoroughly 20th-century idiom. The carols are each sung in their own language — Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen, Stille Nacht and O du fröhliche in German, Il est né in French and From Heaven on High in English. This not only serves to clarify the music but also represents the universality of the Christmas experience for Honegger.

The final section opens with the children's chorus singing another universal hymn of praise, the opening of Psalm 117 (Praise the Lord, all ye nations), in plainsong chant. The chorus picks up this text in an exuberant and joyous waltz, with the children's choir floating above with a chorale-like tune. An instrumental postlude reprises some of the carol music, bringing Une Cantate de Noël to a conclusion.
As a student at the University of Illinois in Urbana in 1978, I heard Honegger's Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra on the radio, and immediately walked to a record store to buy a copy. The Ernest Ansermet LP had Une Cantate de Noël on the other side, which has been a firm favorite ever since. At the time, my fellow university students thought I was silly to "waste" my money on classical records, while they spent their money on beer. Let that be a lesson to you: 3 decades later I still have those LPs and I still love them as much as the CDs I buy today. Yes, classical music is a sound investment in its fullest sense, the gift that keeps on giving. :D

Dave

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Alberich
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Re: Favourite Classical Christams Song/Carol

Post by Alberich » Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:20 am

DanielFullard wrote:Sorry about all these threads but Im bored and thought Id start a few threads

Anyway......seeing as we are getting ever-closer to the most wonderful time of the year I thought Id ask what everyones favourite Classical Christmas song/carol is

Id go for "o Holy Night" which just fills me with Joy every time I hear it
Why torture us because you are bored? There are lots of things to allay your boredom - women, books, sports, self-flagellation, etc. Why us?????

DanielFullard
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Re: Favourite Classical Christams Song/Carol

Post by DanielFullard » Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:21 pm

Alberich wrote:
DanielFullard wrote:Sorry about all these threads but Im bored and thought Id start a few threads

Anyway......seeing as we are getting ever-closer to the most wonderful time of the year I thought Id ask what everyones favourite Classical Christmas song/carol is

Id go for "o Holy Night" which just fills me with Joy every time I hear it
Why torture us because you are bored? There are lots of things to allay your boredom - women, books, sports, self-flagellation, etc. Why us?????
If your not interested dont read them

simple as that

jbuck919
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Re: Favourite Classical Christams Song/Carol

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:28 pm

DanielFullard wrote:
Alberich wrote:
DanielFullard wrote:Sorry about all these threads but Im bored and thought Id start a few threads

Anyway......seeing as we are getting ever-closer to the most wonderful time of the year I thought Id ask what everyones favourite Classical Christmas song/carol is

Id go for "o Holy Night" which just fills me with Joy every time I hear it
Why torture us because you are bored? There are lots of things to allay your boredom - women, books, sports, self-flagellation, etc. Why us?????
If your not interested dont read them

simple as that
I for one do not feel tortured. That was a trollish response, and I think it can safely be dismissed.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

DanielFullard
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Re: Favourite Classical Christams Song/Carol

Post by DanielFullard » Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:34 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
DanielFullard wrote:
Alberich wrote:
DanielFullard wrote:Sorry about all these threads but Im bored and thought Id start a few threads

Anyway......seeing as we are getting ever-closer to the most wonderful time of the year I thought Id ask what everyones favourite Classical Christmas song/carol is

Id go for "o Holy Night" which just fills me with Joy every time I hear it
Why torture us because you are bored? There are lots of things to allay your boredom - women, books, sports, self-flagellation, etc. Why us?????
If your not interested dont read them

simple as that
I for one do not feel tortured. That was a trollish response, and I think it can safely be dismissed.
Well Alberich has said a few likewise comments in threads Ive started.....and looking at his post history he does the same to others

I wuestion why he even bothers using this foum if thats all he is gonna do

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Post by Cyril Ignatius » Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:12 pm

There is so much great Christmas music to choose from. I think music is the greatest thing about Christmas, accompanied of course by excellent beer and good food.

Lo How a Rose E're Blooming
Lully Lullay Thy Little Tiny Child
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Ceremony of Carols, by Benjamin Britten
Silent Night - (Have you ever seen or heard the original Austrian versian as written by Gruber and Mohr?)
Cyril Ignatius

jbuck919
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Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:31 pm

Cyril Ignatius wrote:Lo How a Rose E're Blooming
In fact a classic piece of Renaissance polyphony by Michael Preatorius.
Lully Lullay Thy Little Tiny Child
The haunting and traditional Conventry Carol.
O Little Town of Bethlehem


Sung to a different tune (Forest Green instead of Antioch) in England. That is true of several Christmans carols (It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night).
Silent Night - (Have you ever seen or heard the original Austrian versian as written by Gruber and Mohr?)
Yes, in fact, I have. It bears no resemblance to the slow sentimental thing with too-high notes that we are used to. It is a quasi-Tyrolean folk tune in moderate time with a subtle guitar accompaniment (including a clever interlude between verses). It is a tenor/baritone duet in which the choir only repeats (in parts) the double phrase "schlaf' in himmlischer Ruh'" and the equivalent on the other two verses. It is a piece of pure charm that in my opinion is a custom more honored in the breach in its modern universality. I tried at my last church, where the proper forces including a classical guitarist were available, to get them to do it that way, but Silent Night is so installed as something the congregation must sing at Christmas in its sappy and inauthentic modern version that they would have none of it.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Susan de Visne
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Post by Susan de Visne » Sat Dec 03, 2005 9:56 am

Britten's Ceremony of Carols for me too, but it must be sung by boy trebles with harp (even though I wouldn't have wanted to miss the experience of singing in it myself).

Auntie Lynn
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Post by Auntie Lynn » Sat Dec 03, 2005 10:49 am

Can't beat the Hallelujah Chorus - otherwise that thing from the Bach Christmas Cantata - if all else fails, Jingle Bell Rock - loved it the first time I heard it and still do...

jbuck919
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Post by jbuck919 » Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:15 am

Auntie Lynn wrote:Can't beat the Hallelujah Chorus - otherwise that thing from the Bach Christmas Cantata - if all else fails, Jingle Bell Rock - loved it the first time I heard it and still do...
Well, I wouldn't call the Hallelujah Chorus (which is actually from the Passion/Easter part of Messiah) or "that thing from the Bach Christmas Cantata"[sic] carols. But though I generally ignore pop music, I have to admit that Jingle Bell Rock is a very cute piece and a lot of fun. It always makes me wish I could dance.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Auntie Lynn
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Post by Auntie Lynn » Sat Dec 03, 2005 8:56 pm

As long as we're picking nits, whatthehell is a "Christams" song/carol...doesn't that kind of widen the horizon?

A chacun son gout...

jbuck919
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Post by jbuck919 » Sat Dec 03, 2005 9:13 pm

Auntie Lynn wrote:As long as we're picking nits, whatthehell is a "Christams" song/carol...doesn't that kind of widen the horizon?

A chacun son gout...
I can't describe it, but I know one when I hear one. :D

A carol is a relatively brief Christmas-themed piece--a hymn really--singable by ordinary people in an ordinary setting. Choruses from Messiah do not qualify. In fact, though it's been mentioned here several times, a quasi-concerted piece like "O Holy Night" is not really a carol. Nobody would walk up and down the street on a snowy Christmas eve with a group of musical friends singing that.

Before I get the inevitable feedback, I am aware that the Oxford Book of Carols has things called Easter carols as well as more elaborate Christmas music than I am talking about. I am going with what seems to me common sense and practical usage.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Favourite Classical Christams Song/Carol

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:41 am

My favorite Xmas carol is What Sweeter Music by Rutter and In the Bleak Midwinter.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Dec 04, 2005 1:42 am

jbuck919 wrote: Jingle Bell Rock is a very cute piece and a lot of fun.
It's very infectious - it makes me smile when I hear it.
Corlyss
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jserraglio
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Post by jserraglio » Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:18 am

a '60s-vintage, classic nonclassical Christmas tune: James Brown, "Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto." My kids loved it.

<div align="center">Image</div>

Richard
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Post by Richard » Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:01 pm

Did 2 Pac or Snoop Dogg do a Christmas album?

Seriously, although not a Christmas carol or song, I can't let the season pass without listening to the Corelli Christmas Concerto. Are not most of the 12 Concerti Grossi, Op. 6, worthwhile?

Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Sun Dec 04, 2005 4:39 pm

I'll guess that the most often played Christmas CDs at our house are Pavarotti's "O Holy Night," Leontyne Price's "Christmas Songs" with Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic, "Ancient Noels" by Maggie Sansone and Ensemble Galilei (a charming blend of folk, medieval and Renaissance styles) and my favorite:

Image

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Post by jserraglio » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:14 am

Richard wrote:Did 2 Pac or Snoop Dogg do a Christmas album?
Image
Snoop Dogg's Welcome To Tha Chuuch Tha Album, arrives on December 13, just in time for the holidays.

Richard
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Post by Richard » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:52 pm

I think I will crawl into a hole and wait for Groundhog Day! :o :shock:

Classicus Maximus
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Post by Classicus Maximus » Tue Dec 06, 2005 3:42 pm

Richard wrote:I think I will crawl into a hole and wait for Groundhog Day! :o :shock:
Bing!

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Post by val » Wed Dec 07, 2005 3:44 am

My favorite work for Christmas is Schütz wonderful "Weihnachts Historie" even before Bach's Christmas Oratorio.

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Post by MaestroDJS » Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:18 am

Here are 2 more Christmas oratorios to add to the list.

Den Heliga Natten (The Holy Night) by Swedish composer Hilding Rosenberg is quite beautiful. It has been described as sweet, leisurely, and somewhat nostalgic in its settings of biblical texts and poems by Hjalmar Gullberg for reciter, soloists, mixed choir, and orchestra. Joseph’s Song and Mary’s Lullaby are especially lovely.

L'Enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ) is a surprisingly intimate work by Hector Berlioz, and it had a very unusual history. As a composer Berlioz was well ahead of his time, but one of his greatest successes was at first thought to be far behind the times. Berlioz was poorly appreciated during his lifetime, and critics and audiences alike disdained his music. In November 1850 he needed a choral piece for a program, so he composed "L'Adieu des Bergers" (The Shepherds' Farewell). Berlioz claimed that it was a fragment of an oratorio called La Fuite en Egypte (The Flight Into Egypt), by an imaginary 17th-Century church musician: Pierre Ducré, Music-Master of Ste. Chapelle. He derived the name Ducré from a friend, architect Joseph-Louis Duc (Duc + Ré). Berlioz had no interest in early music, but he undertook this deception to prove that his fellow Parisians were unable to appreciate his music and that the critics in particular were incompetent. Incredibly, the Parisian public was completely fooled. Critics wrote glowing articles about the valuable work which Berlioz had unearthed. One listener remarked, "It has real melody, which is remarkably rare nowadays. Berlioz would never be able to write a tune as simple and charming as this little piece by old Ducré." This insult illustrates just how low an opinion Paris had of Berlioz the composer.

As the admiration reached its height, Berlioz revealed that the work was his own. The critics were stunned, but they could not withdraw their unanimous admiration. Thus Berlioz had his music favorably criticized and brought to prominence, which it received only for its supposed antiquity. This gentle chorus eventually became the centerpiece of his L'Enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ). When the entire oratorio was first performed in December 1854, it was one of his greatest successes. One newspaper wrote: "Its success could not be more complete or more brilliant. The composer has reaped in a single day the harvest of so many years of struggle, patience and toil." L'Enfance du Christ is almost unique in his output for its tender, naïve and archaic style. It is a masterpiece of lyricism, simplicity and restraint.

Dave

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PS. Are there any Swedish readers in our group? I'd like to find an English translation of Joseph's Song. Swedish is a lilting lyrical language.

Hilding Rosenberg: Den Heliga Natten (The Holy Night)
Josefs Sång:

Härbärget hade ingen ledig säng.
Så fann vi stallet ute på en äng.

Jag visste mycket väl hut det var fatt,
men inte att det skulle ske i natt.

Jag kände mig så överflödig här.
En man är ofta bara till besvär.

Jag tordes knappast röra barnets tå
när han blev svept och lagd i krubbans strå.

Tack vare att en stjärna lyste in,
så fick han ingen skråma på sitt skinn.

En herdeskara kom och sjöng en psalm.
Nu sover han i kreaturens halm.

Maria blir jag trogen till min grav.
Hon är den enda som jag håller av.

Fast det blir förödmjukande och svårt,
så skall jag kalla hennes barn för vårt.

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Post by Wallingford » Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:28 pm

Well, seeing as how just about ANYTHING OTHER THAN "Grandma Got Run Over...." can qualify here, I'd like to steer us back into the classical realm & trot out two large-scale vocal works....both by the same (obscure) composer, & both of them completely deserving of a revival:

GABRIEL PIERNE's "Les Enfants a Bethlehem" and "Children's Crusade."

The former has appeared on one or two (out-of-print) CD's; the other one is a heartwrenching work written for children's chorus & orchestra. I've read the score, & it's fine music indeed.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

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Post by Wallingford » Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:36 pm

ALSO:

Was gonna put this in the "What are you listening to....?" thread, but it's appropriate here: some thoroughly engaging (& OBSCURE) Czech Christmas music, from the 17th & 18th Centures. It's on an LP I just got for a quarter: "CHRISTMAS IN PRAGUE" (Supraphon 1-12-0707).

The works hereon include:
CESLAV VANURA's Laetentur Coeli
JOSEF ANTONIN SEHLING's Pastorella & Offertorium Natalitium
FRANTISEK XAVER BRIXI's Pastores, Aria Pastoralis, & Motetto pro festo
VACLAV VINCENC MASEK's Eja vos Pastorculi
and
FRANTISEK LABLER's Graduale Pastorale

It's performed by the St. James Church Choir, with members of the Prague Symphony conducted by Josef Hercl; organist Otto Novak; & vocalists Dagmar Rosikova, Ludmila Vondrackova, Vitezslav Pochman & Jan Soumar.

A most lovely album.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

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Post by Wallingford » Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:44 pm

FINALLY--I've never thought much of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale "The Little Match Girl," but AUGUST ENNA wrote a very fine one-act opera of the story, "Den lille pige med svovlstikkerne."

Enna was a 20th-Century Danish composer of purely lyrical, Romantic operas who lived a good ways past his time.

The present opera's still available on a Chandos CD, I believe.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

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Post by MaestroDJS » Sun Dec 18, 2005 8:15 pm

I almost forgot one of the most joyous Christmas carols: Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John by P. D. Q. Bach.

P. D. Q. Bach: A Consort of Choral Christmas Carols
http://www.schickele.com/composition/co ... istmas.htm
Professor Peter Schickele wrote:Life is full of problems, and one of the most often-encountered is the fact that it is frequently difficult to understand words being sung by a chorus. One of the few things, it can be safely argued, that Palestrina and P. D. Q. Bach had in common was a concern for this problem, and P. D. Q.’s vocal music seems surprisingly careful in this respect. In spite of his care, however, your humble editor has received complaints about the lack of intelligibility of some of the words in the recording of A Consort of Choral Christmas Carols, the gemütlich and thankfully secular songs that make up part of the Portrait of P. D. Q. Bach album. These complaints often focus on the chorus of Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John, where all four voices sing entirely different material at entirely the same time.

—description by Peter Schickele reprinted from The Peter Schickele Rag, #14.

Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John

All: Throw the yule log on, Uncle John
Throw the yule log on Uncle John
Soprano: Fa la la, fa la la, fa la la, fa la la, fa la la, fa fa mi fa
Alto: Wahza whuza wuhza wuhza wuhza woo woo, wuhza wuhza wuhza woo woo, wuhza wuhza wuhza wuhza woo wah
Tenor: Chick chick chick chick chick chick chick chick-a chick-a chick-a boom bah
Bass: Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ha

All: Put the pickle down, Uncle John
Put the pickle down Uncle John
Soprano: Fa la la, fa la la, fa la la, fa la la, fa la la, fa fa mi fa
Alto: Wahza whuza wuhza wuhza wuhza woo woo, wuhza wuhza wuhza woo woo, wuhza wuhza wuhza wuhza woo wah
Tenor: Chick chick chick chick chick chick chick chick-a chick-a chick-a boom bah
Bass: Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ha

All: Ten o’clock on Christmas morn and all the guests are coming to the door;
Ten o’clock on Christmas morn and Uncle John’s already on the floor.
Though the weather’s bitter cold there’s not a frown to mar the festive mood;
Wait ’til they discover that old Uncle John has eaten all the food.

All: Hear the hall clock strike, Uncle John
Hear the hall clock strike Uncle John
Soprano: Fa la la, fa la la, fa la la, fa la la fa la la, fa fa mi fa
Alto: Fuzzy wuzzy was a bear, fuzzy wuzzy had no hair, fuzzy wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy wuzzy wuzzy wuhza wuhza woo wah
Tenor: Sis sis sis sis sis sis sis sis sis boom bah
Bass: Boom chick boom chick boom chick boom chick boom chick boom chick boom boom boom buhzoowah doowah

All: Please, will you come to Uncle John?
Gather around poor Uncle John.
Please, will you come to Uncle John (the no-good good-for-nothing),
Oh, when will you come to Uncle John?
Oh, when will you come to, Uncle John?
Dave

David Stybr, Engineer and Composer: It's Left Brain vs. Right Brain: best 2 falls out of 3
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Post by jserraglio » Sun Dec 18, 2005 8:47 pm

<tr>on Argo LP ZRG904 with Gomez, Dickinson Tear, Heltay cond. also on CD <img src="http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0000 ... ZZZZZ_.jpg">

Respighi, Adoration of the Magi from Trittico Botticelliano

Respighi, Lauda per la nativitá de signore
</tr>

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Post by MaestroDJS » Mon Dec 19, 2005 12:41 pm

WFMT Chicago just broadcast this striking piece: Slovak Christmas Mass by Edmund Pascha (1714-1772). I've never heard of this composer before, but Edmund Pascha sounds like he could have been one of Leoš Janáček's 18th-Century ancestors -- not surprising, given that they both hailed from the same region. It's hard to put my impressions into words, so here is a review from Amazon.com which sums it up. Very happy I heard this music.
Amazon.com wrote:The Pascha Mass is happy, charming, occasionally wacky 18th Century hybrid of baroque conventions, dance rhythms & Czech folk music. Sleigh bells & some sort of double reed folk instrument like a Platerspiel or small bagpipe are used. The score itself makes little attempt to absorb & fuse the various styles. One type just moves into another; this Mass definitely has a "Gloria" apart from the worlds of Bach & Vivaldi in everything but joyful song; it is more like an aural assemblage. The Carols are fitting "filler."
Dave

David Stybr, Engineer and Composer: It's Left Brain vs. Right Brain: best 2 falls out of 3
http://members.SibeliusMusic.com/Stybr
Tango: Summer Night in Montevideo for Violin and Piano (3:20)
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Murder of a Smart Cookie
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jserraglio
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Post by jserraglio » Thu Dec 22, 2005 3:39 am

<img src="http://www.dianakrall.com/images/music/full/11.jpg" width="150" height="150">
Last edited by jserraglio on Mon Dec 26, 2005 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by jbuck919 » Thu Dec 22, 2005 4:06 am

MaestroDJS wrote:I almost forgot one of the most joyous Christmas carols: Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John by P. D. Q. Bach.

P. D. Q. Bach: A Consort of Choral Christmas Carols
http://www.schickele.com/composition/co ... istmas.htm

I didn't dare click on the link that said "higher level page."

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by david johnson » Thu Dec 22, 2005 4:24 am

i like most christmas tunes.
lately i've been partial to 'pat-a-pan, coventry carol, & silent night'.
my usual fav christmas album is 'festival of carols', philadelphia brass ensemble.

dj

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Dec 22, 2005 4:41 am

The Petit Messe Solennelle is a Christmas piece? Blimey!
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

jserraglio
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Post by jserraglio » Thu Dec 22, 2005 6:01 am

Corlyss_D wrote:The Petit Messe Solennelle is a Christmas piece? Blimey!
Naw, it's just filler for the good faux-medieval stuff on that CD:
Respighi, Adoration of the Magi from Trittico Botticelliano
Respighi, Lauda per la nativitá de signore
Last edited by jserraglio on Mon Dec 26, 2005 3:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

erinmr
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Post by erinmr » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:39 am

I always enjoy O come all ye faithful, both for singing and for playing (piano).

I enjoyed singing Deck the Halls in chior. It's madrigal-like qualities make it a fun, playfull song to sing and listen to.

~Erin

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Post by jbuck919 » Thu Dec 22, 2005 9:57 am

erinmr wrote:I always enjoy O come all ye faithful, both for singing and for playing (piano).


~Erin
Yes, a very great hymn from a very obscure source (J. F. Wade's Cantus Diversi of1751)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

PJME
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christmas music

Post by PJME » Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:07 am

Schutz, Bach, Handel, Locatelli, Corelli, Czech and Russian Christmas songs, Honegger's Cantate de Noel, Hilding Rosenberg's Den heliga Natten,Gabriel Pierné's subtle Les enfants à Bethléhem....

Marc Antoine Charpentier deserves a place of honor - he wrote quite a lot of music inpired by Christmas. You can't go wrong with

In nativitatem Domini nostri Jesus Christi canticum, H 414
The Messe de minuit
Pastorale sur la naissance de notre Seigneur Jésus Christ, H 483
(most works available in very good performances)

But don't forget Ralph Vaughan Williams "Hodie" (two versions on EMI - Sir David Willcockx and Richard Hickox) coupled with the wonderful Fantasia on Christmas carols.
The Nativity (Pastorale to Moravian Folk Poetry) from a set of 4 short operas "The Miracles of our Lady" (Hry O Marii - available on Supraphon) (1934)by Bohuslav Martinu , is an achingly beautiful piece with gorgeous melodies, a sense of yearning in the harmonic writing and has much variety and interest.
Frank Bridge's short opera (ca 50 mins.) The Christmas rose ( on Pearl) - a real gem!
Swiss composer Frank Martin wrote an ambitious oratorio "Le mystère de la nativité" (1957-1959) for soli, choirs & orchestra. (2 versions - on Cascavelle with Ernest Ansermet conducting the worldpremiere - Elly Ameling is very moving and has the most lovely voice! - and one on Musikszene Schweiz.

I found this text on the net - and agree!

"What a difference faith makes. It was the very character of Swiss composer Frank Martin’s Christian faith that shaped his music. For Christmas 1959, Martin composed an hour-and-40-minute oratorio called Le Mystère de la Nativité. It contains some of the sweetest, most faith-filled music I have heard. Martin barely eluded the clutches of the major musical gear-stripper of the 20th century, Arnold Schoenberg, under whose influence he fell for a period. Escaping from what he described as the "iron straight jacket" of Schoenberg’s dodecaphony, Martin went on to write some of the most profound religious music of our time.

In Le Mystère, Martin chose a lyrical, deliberately naive, and occasionally archaic style to capture the spirit of a medieval mystery play written by Arnoul Greban around 1450. The character of this work calls to mind the carved wooden panels found around the exterior of the apse and choir walls of many medieval cathedrals. It is as if these medieval bas-reliefs had suddenly sprung to life musically, though in a 20th-century idiom. However, the idiom is not Martin’s usual chromaticism. He said that in Le Mystère he "used a very bare and entirely diatonic musical language for the celestial world." For the scenes in hell, a nearly atonal language expresses the diabolical cacophony (though the devils are more redolent of Punch and Judy than Milton).

Greban’s Passion play consists of 35,000 verses, most of them in rhymed couplets. (Greban apparently never suffered from writer’s block; his next mystery play contained 60,000 verses.) Martin extracted twelve scenes that neatly encapsulate salvation history up to the Presentation in the Temple. "I have been inspired by stained glass windows to divide into twelve separate scenes my Mystère de la Nativité, several of which combine two or three consecutive events," Martin said. After a prologue set in heaven, we are shown devils rejoicing in hell at the arrival of the first human souls; Adam and Eve in limbo, anxiously wondering, "When com’st Thou, sweetest Messiah?" and then God sending Gabriel to Mary. The remaining scenes take us from the Annunciation to the Presentation.

Both the text and the music have that special kind of innocence, intimacy, and sense of spiritual reality that only those with true faith possess. The setting of Gabriel’s announcement to Mary is one great love song, as are Mary’s first words to the newborn Jesus. If Mary sang to her Newborn, it must have been with music like this. And could the shepherds have heard anything more beautiful than what Gabriel sings to them here? Simeon’s longing to see the Messiah could not be more beautifully and poignantly expressed, or the celebration at His arrival more joyously conveyed. Le Mystère is a work of true radiance, a rare masterpiece of the spirit. It shines inwardly throughout. Martin must have had the soul of a child to write something this pure.

Several years ago, the Swiss label Cascavelle released the first available recording of this masterpiece on a two-CD set that includes a shorter oratorio, Pilate (VEL 2006). The 1959 mono sound of the live premier performance, with star soloists and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, under Ernest Ansermet, was a little murky, so it is now a great joy to have a modern stereo recording from Musikszene Schweiz (available through Qualiton Import). The new recording was taped live in 2000 at a concert performance in Lucerne, with the Akademiechor Luzern, Madchenchor in VOICE, and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, under Alois Koch. In most respects, it is superb. Unfortunately, the text is only in French and German, and soprano Barbara Locher comes nowhere near to eclipsing the radiant performance of Elly Ameling in the key role of Mary in the Cascavelle recording. In any case, you should not be without this work, and you can purchase this recording with confidence.

Martin
Le Mystère de la Nativité
Musikszene Schweiz CD 6173

PS: for those who get BBC TV : on Christmas day do watch the service from Cambridge / Kings College . The famous choir sings beautifully, of course , and it is also a chance to admire P.P.Rubens "Adoration of the magi" - one of his most magical creations.

Blip
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Post by Blip » Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:22 pm

Christmas just isn't Christmas until I hear LeRoy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride." Any version will do, but it's best when played over a shopping center PA system.
Last edited by Blip on Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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blippage.

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Post by Lark Ascending » Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:05 pm

Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols is playing on Classic FM as I type - loverly.
Other carols I like are The Coventry Carol, Gaudete, Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel and a French carol which I think is called Mortal Flesh.

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Post by MaestroDJS » Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:06 pm

Blip wrote:Christmas just isn't cirstmas until I hear LeRoy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride." Any version will do, but it's bettter if it's played over a shopping center PA system.
Interesting, because technically Sleigh Ride has nothing to do with Christmas. Leroy Anderson composed it as a purely orchestral piece in 1947 during a July heat wave. The words were added 3 years later by Mitchell Parish, who also added words to six other Anderson pieces after they became popular. It mentions a birthday party for Farmer Gray, but not Christmas.
Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,
Ring ting tingling too
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you,
Outside the snow is falling
And friends are calling yoo hoo,
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you.

Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap,
Let’s go, let’s look at the show,
We’re riding in a wonderland of snow.
Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap,
It’s grand, just holding your hand,
We’re gliding along with a song
Of a wintry fairy land.

Our cheeks are nice and rosy
And comfy cozy are we
We’re snuggled up together
Like two birds of a feather would be
Let’s take that road before us
And sing a chorus or two
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you.

There’s a birthday party
At the home of Farmer Gray
It’ll be the perfect ending a perfect day
We’ll be singing the songs
We love to sing without a single stop,
At the fireplace while we watch
The chestnuts pop. pop! pop! pop!

There’s a happy feeling
Nothing in the world can buy,
When they pass around the chocolate
And the pumpkin pie
It’ll nearly be like a picture print
By currier and ives
These wonderful things are the things
We remember all through our lives!

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling,
Ring ting tingling too
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you,
Outside the snow is falling
And friends are calling yoo hoo,
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you.

Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap,
Let’s go, let’s look at the show,
We’re riding in a wonderland of snow.
Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap,
It’s grand, just holding your hand,
We’re gliding along with a song
Of a wintry fairy land.

Our cheeks are nice and rosy
And comfy cozy are we
We’re snuggled up together
Like two birds of a feather would be
Let’s take that road before us
And sing a chorus or two
Come on, it’s lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you.
In this link, Leroy Anderson discusses how he wrote Sleigh Ride:
PBS: Once Upon a Sleigh Ride
http://video.pbs.org:8080/ramgen/sleigh ... de_demo.rm

Dave

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Post by Blip » Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:40 pm

MaestroDJS wrote:Interesting, because technically Sleigh Ride has nothing to do with Christmas.
Well, technically, Messiah is an Easter Oratorio. Sleigh Ride has taken on seasonal dimensions, though, since it's only played at this time of year. it's winter, it's snow, and what the heck, it's Christmas.

Thanks for the info.
One's reponse to blips qua blips depends of course on one's taste in blippification, but I think most would agree that with a blippic approach, form arises not from individual blippicality, but from the accumulation of
blippage.

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Post by MaestroDJS » Fri Dec 23, 2005 8:22 pm

Blip wrote:Thanks for the info.
You're very welcome. Music becomes even more interesting, the more we know about it. I've always felt the Leroy Anderson was underrated as a composer. His short orchestral works are among the best of their kind.

Leroy Anderson, Official Website
http://www.leroy-anderson.com
PBS - Once Upon A Sleighride: The Music and Life of Leroy Anderson
http://www.pbs.org/sleighride

When you get right down to it, it's amusing that purely winter songs like Sleigh Ride, Let It Snow and Winter Wonderland usually disappear from the airwaves by New Year's Day, even though the winter and snow will still be around for a few more months. Besides, snow is rather unusual in Bethlehem. :D

What a seque back to Christmas music! One of my favorite Christmas pieces is Carol of the Bells. I loved to play it on the carillon in the Altgeld Hall tower at the University of Illinois during my student years in the 1970s. This was adapted from the choral work Shchedryk (Epiphany Carol) by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych (1877-1921). His music, particularly for chorus, was very popular in its time, but Leontovych himself preferred to remain out of the public eye. In 1936, US composer Peter J. Wilhousky (1902-1978) adapted Leontovych's music and added some lyrics, and in this form as Carol of the Bells it became popular around the world. Shchedryk was based on the Slavic legend that at on the night Christ was born, every bell in the world rang out in his honor.

Here is a link to the original version, which also illustrates the strophic-variational form which Leontovych often used.

Mykola Leontovych: Shchedryk (Epiphany Carol): audio (2:00)
http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/pi ... hedryk.wma

Encyclopedia of Ukraine: Mykola Leontovych (1877-1921)
http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/pa ... Mykola.htm
Leontovych, Mykola [Leontovyc], b 13 December 1877 in Monastyrok, Bratslav county, Podilia gubernia, d 23 January 1921 in Markivka, Haisyn county, Podilia gubernia. Composer, conductor, and teacher. After graduating from the theological seminary in Kamianets-Podilskyi in 1899, he worked as a teacher at various schools in Kyiv gubernia, Katerynoslav gubernia, and Podilia gubernia. He furthered his music education on an ongoing basis through private study in Saint Petersburg, where he earned his credentials as a choirmaster of church choruses, and in Kyiv, where he studied under Boleslav Yavorsky. In spite of the popularity of his compositions, Leontovych was modest about his work and remained a generally unrecognized figure until he was brought to Kyiv in 1918–19 to teach at Kyiv Conservatory and the Lysenko Music and Drama Institute. He died in tragic circumstances several years later, being shot by a robber at his parents' home.

Leontovych's musical heritage consists primarily of more than 150 choral compositions inspired by the texts and melodies of Ukrainian folk songs. His earlier works consist mainly of strophic arrangements of folk songs; in later years he developed a strophic-variational form strongly related to the text. A group of his compositions, including ‘Shchedryk’ (Epiphany Carol), ‘Dudaryk’ (The Duda Player), and ‘Hra v Zaichyka’ (Playing Rabbit), depart from the simple settings of folk songs and constitute his most original and artistic compositions. Leontovych also wrote several religious works (a liturgy, cantatas), and choral compositions to the texts of various poems (including L’odolom [Icebreaker] and Litni tony [Summer Tones] by Hrytsko Chuprynka). The harmony of his choral compositions is rich and innovative, an important role being played by vocal polyphony, including the use of imitation techniques. His unfinished opera Na rusalchyn velykden’ (On the Water Nymph's Easter), based on Borys Hrinchenko's fairy tale, was the first attempt at a Ukrainian fantastic opera.

Leontovych's creativity played an important role in the development of Ukrainian choral tradition and influenced composers of succeeding generations. His works were popularized by the Ukrainian Republican Kapelle conducted by Oleksander Koshyts and became the basis of the repertoire of many choral groups. They obtained high praise from critics as well as widespread popularity in Ukraine and elsewhere. Leontovych remains a consistent favorite with Ukrainian ensembles.

The composer’s ‘Shchedryk’ is particularly renowned. It is better known as ‘The Carol of the Bells’ in its English version, authored and premiered in 1936 by conductor-educator P. Wilhousky. It has experienced over 150 transmutations in re-arrangements for differing vocal and instrumental combinations, many of them recorded at one time or another by North American ensembles. Symphonic versions have been performed and/or recorded under the leadership of such conductors as E. Ormandy, L. Bernstein, and A. Kostelanetz.
Photo: Mykola Leontovych
Image

Dave

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Last edited by MaestroDJS on Fri Dec 23, 2005 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Blip
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Post by Blip » Fri Dec 23, 2005 8:33 pm

MaestroDJS wrote:
Blip wrote:Thanks for the info.
You're very welcome. Music becomes even more interesting, the more we know about it. I've always felt the Leroy Anderson was underrated as a composer. His short orchestral works are among the best of their kind.
I only recently learned that, like a lot of other major American composers, Anderson too studied with Nadia Boulanger.
One's reponse to blips qua blips depends of course on one's taste in blippification, but I think most would agree that with a blippic approach, form arises not from individual blippicality, but from the accumulation of
blippage.

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Post by MaestroDJS » Fri Dec 23, 2005 9:00 pm

Here is some information about the best-known version of Carol of the Bells, as arranged by Peter Wilhousky from the original Shchedryk by Mykola Leontovych.

The Ukrainian Weekly, December 26, 1976, No. 255, Vol. LXXXIII
SOUNDS AND VIEWS: Carol of The Bells
http://www.ukrweekly.com/Archive/1976/2557626.shtml
At our request, P. Wilhousky described the origin of the 1936 "Carol of the Bells" in a letter from Westport, Connecticut, dated December 28, 1973:

"I had heard it (i.e. Shchedryk) sung by a Ukrainian choir and somehow obtained a manuscript copy. At about that time I needed a short number to fill out a program I was asked to do for the Walter Damrosch Music Appreciation Hour with my high school choir. Since the youngsters would not sing in Ukrainian I had to compose a text in English. I discarded the Ukrainian text about 'shchedryk' - (the barnyard fowl) and instead concentrated on the merry tinkle of the bells which I heard in the music.

"After the broadcast many schools and colleges wrote in asking where they could obtain printed copies of the Carol of the Bells. My friends urged me to submit the number to a publisher - which I did - namely G. Schirmer. My manuscript was returned after two months with regrets.

Best Seller

"A week or two later a salesman from Carl Fischer came to visit me at my school. He said his company would like to have my music in their catalogue and asked if I had any compositions or arrangements they could publish...I took out the rejected manuscript of Carol of the Bells and frankly told him how it was received. He took the copy and phoned me the next day that they would print it. Needless to say, it has been a best seller ever since. There was no need to push it - it just grew. My motive was never commercial. I just wanted to introduce good music. You say that the original version is slightly different from the one I used. I should like to see the original some day to note the difference.

"As you probably know, I retired from the New York School System nine years ago after 42 years of service - I served as Director of Music the last 12 years. From 1944 to 1949 I served on the side of Toscanini at NBC. Incidentally, he did not know the Carol of the Bells although he may have heard it later when Bob Shaw's Chorale sang carols outside his home in Riverdale."

The Carol Arrives

Complying with his request, I forwarded the original Leontovych version to Mr. Wilhousky and he acknowledged the difference in the finale of his score. New York's Carl Fischer printed "Carol of the Bells" with the subtitle "Ukrainian Christmas Carol." Credits went to M. Leontovych (music) and to Peter J. Wilhousky (arr. and text). The "arr." can be explained by the piano or organ part closely derived from Leontovych, designated "for rehearsal only."

Just as the song "Oy ne khody Hrytsiu" ("Yes My Darling Daughter") became the first big hit of Dinah Shore, so did "Carol of the Bells" establish Wilhousky with the Fischer firm which was later to print his arrangements of "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and other famous numbers.

The 1936 Fischer printing made "Carol of the Bells" into a song 'heard round the world' and from that point the carol rang with a merry life of its own with more rearrangements and recordings than any other work of Ukrainian origin. Besides the mentioned French remake, the carol is also known in England as "Christmas Bells."

Today there are at least five different printings, each one noting the carol's Ukrainian origin. Most numerous are the recordings, over 50, several of which give erroneous data on the carol's identity.

Among performers Arthur Fiedler, the Robert Shaw Chorale and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir recorded the Wilhousky version. But dozens of other groups each with a style of its own further adapted the carol. As in the blues, the simplicity of the basic motif offered endless possibilities in a wide range of music making.

Orchestral versions include those by Eugene Ormandy, Carmen Dragon and Leonard Bernstein (his is a joyful tour de force), while the David Randolph Singers relied more on chamber atmosphere. The carol was performed and recorded by the Swingle Singers, Johnny Mathis, glee clubs, pop orchestras, organs, chimes, the electronic Moog machine, for a champagne commercial, i.e. by ensembles varying both in quality and purpose.

Hymn to Life

Nevertheless, there is something symbolic in the number and vitality of these arrangements, living boisterous life of their own. There is something in their sheer fertility that echoes the nature of the original carol - a hymn to life.

And now during the Bicentennial still more publications and recordings continue radiating this singular contribution to Christmas.

Such is the destiny of one godly bird emerging from an ancient creed, a destiny and fortune of a swallow whose chatter became music for millions.
Dave

David Stybr, Engineer and Composer: It's Left Brain vs. Right Brain: best 2 falls out of 3
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Post by Wallingford » Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:56 pm

Apropos of the SUNG version of Anderson's "Sleigh Ride":

I've always found that verbal imagery to be pretty pretentious--especially that line about "....a picture print by Currier & Ives." I cringe at any vocalized version of the tune & don't know why a perfect little 3-minute orchestral tone poem couldn't just be let alone. Why do the world's singers always have to feel ENVIOUS whenever a really good melody happens to be written for instruments??

Also, whenever the song gets to those bridge passages, they're invariably arranged in a not-so-distant key from the home tonic, presumably because the original's actual tessitura is too wide for the average human voice.
Good music is that which falls upon the ear with ease, and quits the memory with difficulty.
--Sir Thomas Beecham

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