This year as earlier years, the Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound celebrates Advent and Christmas with an exhibiton of Christmas records from the vaults of the institute. The exhibiton concists of 78's and LP's with well-known Christmas Music from many lands. For those who wants to dive further down into this subject, the exhibition also concists of many lesser known works. In other words, something for every taste! In addition, we present on this website a Musical Advent Calender where you everyday can listen to a Christmas recording.
The main part of the exhibition is the many LP records, but we have also taken many 78 rpm shellac records up from the vaults. It is possible to listen to some of these records on an accoustic record player as was common about 60 years ago before the LP's and singles were introduced. It is incredible how good and natural sound quality one gets from an original record player. In our digital age this is something worth experiencing.
On the popular side, you find Bing Crosbys White Christmas and several records with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation's Boys Choir (Sølvguttene - The Silver Boys). Stephen Adam's The Holy City is represented in several recordings on shellac, and Adolpe Adam's famous Cantique de Noël is present. Jussi Bjørling's legendary recording of this song in Swedish as Julsång is obvious.
When it comes to the great classical works for choir and orchestra, Bach's Christmas Oratorio and Händel's Messiah represents the famous traditional christmas music. The Norwegian Institute of Recorded sound has among its 34 recordings of the Messiah the complete Grammophone & Typewriter 1906 recording made in London on 25 shellac sides.
The Bach and Händel works stands as giants, thus many other works has become overshaddowed by them. One example is Hector Berlioz' oratorio L’enfance du Christ, a great work in French music history. Arthur Honegger's Christmas Cantata which had it's premiere performance in 1953 and Francis Poulenc's Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël from 1951-2 are both beautiful in the neoclassical style. Hereby recommended as alternatives to the more famous works.
From the British Christmas repertoire we have many Christmas Carols. A few of them are Deck the Hall, Joy to the World, O come all ye faithful, God Rest you Merry Gentlemen and many more. Benjamin Brittens A Ceremony of Carols has entered the repertoire and is performed all over the world. It is written in 1942, and in the exhibition we have one of the very first recordings of this music on shellac records. The performance is by The Morriston Boys Choir conducted by Ivor Sims with Maria Korchinska playing the harp solo. The recordings are mentioned in the Decca Catalogue of 1947, and are probably recorded right after the 2nd. World War.
To continue in the British sphere; This year it is 50 years since the death of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. He has written a Christmas Cantata for soprano-, tenor- and bariton solo, choir and orchestra, named Hodie (This Day). He composed it in 1953-4 when he was 81 years old. In his truly original music style, Vaughan Williams has written a work that speaks directly to the hearts and feelings of the listener.
Among Nordic composers, the Swedish composer Hilding Rosenberg holds a special position with his Christmas oratorio Den Helliga Natten (The Holy Night). The work was for many years performed by the Swedish Radio on December 24th., and still holds it position on the repertoire. It is not among the composers most monumental works, but is made up of several movements with melodies in long melismatic lines, really easy on the ear.
Norway too has many special Christmas hymns and Christmas music. Some works have gained more popularity, for example The Christmas Motet by Eyvind Alnæs which is present in several recordings.
The records are exhibited in the premises of the Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound in Stavanger, Norway. It is possible to listen to most of the exhibited records except some of the shellac records.
Sist oppdatert: 11.04.2011 12:28. Nettansvarlig
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