Author Topic: Music for Advent and Christmas  (Read 78096 times)

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Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #480 on: December 18, 2021, 01:20:42 PM »
We Wish You a Merry Shostakovich Christmas

VonStupp's 25 Days of Christmas
There has been a lot of Shostakovich traffic on GMG lately and I happpened upon this blog entry, which tries to pigeonhole Shostakovich into the Christmas season, including some musical examples. Judge for yourself... ;)

https://exhaustiveshostakovich.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/we-wish-you-a-merry-shostakovich-christmas/

VS



Fun observations, indeed!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline aligreto

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #481 on: December 19, 2021, 03:57:22 AM »
Schütz- Weihnachtshistorie [Hillier]





This is a very fine presentation of this work. Its tone is more one of rejoicing as opposed to being overly devotional. It is wonderfully sung by all concerned. The musical accompaniment is very sensitive to the vocal music and never competes with it. It is also excellently recorded in a benignly warm and reverberant acoustic which very much helps with the level of excellence all round on this recording.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline aligreto

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #482 on: December 19, 2021, 07:04:04 AM »
Bach: Christmas Cantatas [Mallon]





Cantata BWV 36 - I find the sound a little light and scant overall but even though it is sparse it is very well recorded. Perhaps it is just that the recorded acoustic is too big for the smaller forces [OVPP]. However, this is not a major issue here; it is quite a pleasant listen and is simply something that I was aware of throughout. The music is well played and sung and I also like the pacing and tone of this version.

Cantata BWV132 - Mallon’s pacing throughout is excellent, I feel. He moves the music along wonderfully well with nothing feeling either rushed or dragging. The music is well played and sung and it is also well recorded.

Cantata BWV 61 - I like the more devotional tone in this presentation; it is quite contemplative. This is well reflected in the frequent use of the lower register strings which are well portrayed here. All of the vocalists, solo and choir, make a fine contribution here also and I feel that Mallon gets the mood and pacing just right. This is quite an effective and engaging version of this Bach Cantata.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline VonStupp

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #483 on: December 19, 2021, 10:03:15 AM »
Robert Shaw & Robert Russell Bennett
Many Moods of Christmas

Robert Shaw & Alice Parker
Christmas Hymns and Carols Vol 1 & 2
Festival of Carols


Robert Shaw Chorale
RCA Victor SO - Robert Shaw


VonStupp's 25 Days of Christmas
Making a Cookie Tree today, so Robert Shaw is on tap while we work. These recordings were set down in the 50's and 60's and the LP's have been with me for, what seems like, forever.

I love RR Bennett's orchestrated medleys. They are a bit rough and coarse, but thrilling and not saccharine at all.

Parker/Shaw's a cappella carol & hymn arrangements are so humble, and quite beautiful because of it. Shaw rerecorded some of these in the 80's & 90's with ASO personnel, but I like the original RS Chorale.

VS

« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 10:37:25 AM by VonStupp »
“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”

Offline Florestan

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #484 on: December 20, 2021, 05:29:37 AM »


Splendid realisation and presentation.
"I’ve always said music should make you laugh, make you cry or make you think." - Kenny Rogers

Offline VonStupp

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #485 on: December 20, 2021, 01:36:41 PM »
Stories For Christmas

The Happy Prince / The Small One
Music by Bernard Herrmann & Victor Young
Narrated by Orson Welles & Bing Crosby

A Christmas Carol / Mr. Pickwick's Christmas
Music by Victor Young & Hanns Eisler
Narrated by Ronald Colman & Charles Laughton

The Littlest Angel / Lullaby for Christmas
Music by Carmen Dragon & Charles Paul
Narrated by Loretta Young & Gregory Peck


VonStupp's 25 Days of Christmas
An Eloquence compilation of 6 short radioplays from the 40's (15-20 minutes each, in mono) that sound pretty good still.

The stories with the animals are probably the best (Happy & Small), but the old-timey occurances of animals dying and beating mute children (Lullaby) make these not quite as endearing as I remember them from LP days.

The music leans heavily towards incidental, with little standing out. The focus here is on the starry narrators; silver-screen actors from yesteryear.

VS

« Last Edit: December 20, 2021, 01:39:58 PM by VonStupp »
“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”

Offline VonStupp

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #486 on: December 22, 2021, 10:33:20 AM »
A Christmas Festival
Boston PO - Arthur Fiedler
(rec. 1958-1969)

VonStupp's 25 Days of Christmas
December birthday boy Arthur Fiedler leads VW's Fantasia on Greensleeves, a 9-minute 'Dream Pantomime' from Hansel and Gretel, among some other historical choices. I don't often see many nods to classical music anymore from groups like this at the yuletide.

I actually really like Leroy Anderson's A Christmas Festival; it is a little coarse and rougher, rather than gooey and saccharine like pops medleys can be.

VS

« Last Edit: December 22, 2021, 10:40:36 AM by VonStupp »
“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”

Offline VonStupp

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #487 on: December 23, 2021, 12:32:29 PM »
American Horn Quartet Christmas Album

American Horn Quartet
Queensland Symphony Horns


VonStupp's 25 Days of Christmas
Perhaps the most interesting I have listened to for Advent 2021. This was the valedictory recording from the AHQ, an ensemble based in Germany, and this music ably depicts the range and versatility of the horn.

There is a nice helping of Mendelssohn, Jacob Handl, G.F. Handel, but the interesting music comes from Kerry Turner. His Symphony of Carols is more than just a string of familiar tunes; he comes close to developing ideas symphonically, more along the lines of Hely-Hutchinson, but with a modernist touch.  The bitonal, overlapping Coventry Carol with In the Bleak Midwinter is ear-catching, and his Hymnus is almost a Gregorian theme and variations circling around Of the Father's Love Begotten.

The populous, entertaining items are still here, but they are more the exception than the rule, which makes this recording stand out. The brief didgeridoo solo lead-in to the symphony is odd, but a loving nod to the Queensland recording location.

VS



The entire album can be found on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vEg-bPwSao&list=OLAK5uy_nncPxKiigDncaZYT6glSQD3o8RoupYl_E
« Last Edit: December 23, 2021, 12:55:28 PM by VonStupp »
“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #488 on: December 23, 2021, 01:35:02 PM »


Otherwise known as The Elisabeth Schwarzkopf Christmas Album and if you're going to do a Christmas Album, then this is certainly a classy affair, with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Ambrosian Singers conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. The arrangements are by Sir Charles too, all except Stille Nacht, which uses the arrangement from the first ever performance, with Schwarzkopf duetting with herself to an accompaniment of guitar and French horn.

Pure delight.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #489 on: December 23, 2021, 01:54:46 PM »
It's time for my annual listen to my favorite Christmas work, Christopher Rouse's Karolju. Karolju is a suite of original Christmas carols for choir and orchestra first conceived in the early 1980s in a form modeled after Orff's Carmina Burana . More details on this work can be found on its Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karolju
It's beautiful, exciting, and truly unlike any of Rouse's other works. A hard copy might be hard to come by, but is available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify. 



Offline VonStupp

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #490 on: December 24, 2021, 07:33:32 AM »
Glorious Sound of Christmas (rec. 1962)
Philadelphia SO - Eugene Ormandy

A Festival of Carols in Brass (rec. 1967)
Philadelphia Symphony Brass


VonStupp's 25 Days of Christmas
Happy Christmas Eve all!

Ormandy knew what he was doing when he saved O Holy Night for the Philadelphia string sound. Yummy, yet highly caloric!

The arrangements by Arthur Harris exploit the virtuosity of the ensemble, and even if the offerings from Schubert and Beethoven are too much for me, this one comes out every year all the same.

The Philadelphia brass album is quite simple in presentation, with no evidence of showboating or death-defying tricks. Beautiful!

VS

 
« Last Edit: December 24, 2021, 07:37:16 AM by VonStupp »
“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”

Offline VonStupp

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #491 on: December 25, 2021, 08:55:49 AM »
John Rutter
The Reluctant Dragon
Brother Heinrich's Christmas
The Wind in the Willows

King's Singers & Cambridge Singers - John Rutter
City of London Sinfonia - Richard Hickox


VonStupp's 25 Days of Christmas
My girls listen to this recording every Christmas, and I copied off the words so they can follow along with the music.

They love the Reluctant Dragon, which is pure silliness from the King's Singers. I have performed the Banquet Fugue and Let's Begin Again for chorus many, many times, and I never tire of them.

My wife really likes the origin story of the carol 'In Dulci Jubilo' from Brother Heinrich; it is a rather heart-warming musical tale.

A Happy Christmas to all!



This whole album is offered on YouTube as well:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7i_SX6_Ckcc&list=OLAK5uy_lAwLyiek4IrbUyZGQZSQDFqFd7ieLmxzo
« Last Edit: December 25, 2021, 08:57:21 AM by VonStupp »
“All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.”

Offline aligreto

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Re: Music for Advent and Christmas
« Reply #492 on: December 27, 2021, 08:27:44 AM »
JS Bach - Christmas Oratorio [Jacobs]





Christmas Oratorio - Part I [Jacobs]
This music is always a joy to listen to. JS Bach’s music can oftentimes be filled with joyous music which is a point that can often be missed. Jacobs, however, does not miss this point here. The music has great forward momentum and this interpretation portrays the inherent power and joy of this work. I turned up the volume for maximum effect! This presentation portrays the relevant celebratory tone of the occasion with the appropriate gravitas. The opening is wonderfully vibrant and joyous with blazing brass and thumping timpani. It is also paced very well. It is wonderfully played, wonderfully sung by all concerned and the recording is warm and detailed. This recording of Part I has great presence overall.

Christmas Oratorio - Part II [Jacobs]

This work is unseasonably grave, intense, contemplative and subdued in tone. The music remains intense in tone throughout the entire work [the third last movement is the noticeable exception to this]. Given that, the music is smoothly delivered throughout by both instrumentalists and vocalists alike. The pace of the work is also well delivered here. The music is, however, always wonderful and also consistently delivered to a high standard by Jacobs. The recorded sound is excellent.

Christmas Oratorio - Part III [Jacobs]
This work opens joyously with a fanfare of brass. This prevailing tone of both joy and celebration permeates most of the work with the exception of the latter part of the work which is more subdued and reflective in tone. The joy returns in the final Chorale. This joy is reflected both in the pacing and the scoring for individual movements. Vocally, a great effort is also made to deliver the requisite tone.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.