Due to a great response last year, the Norwegian Institute of Recorded sound presents a new musical advent calendar with more old Christmas music recordings. Each day before Christmas, we present one or several recordings from the "good old times", in which legendary singers and performers from the first half of the 20th Century give their interpretation of Christmas Music.
It is not a recent phenomena only that great artists have promoted themselves with Christmas records, these records have sold well ever since the beginning of recording. This year's Christmas exhibition at the Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound presents a broad scope of Christmas records from the era of the 78 records. We have digitized some of them as well, and will present them on this webpage in the Advent period. All these records can of course be found at the Institute's premises in Stavanger.
Together with the Christmas 78's, the Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound also exhibits many of its Christmas LP's. Among these, one can find several Norwegian amateur choir recordings as interesting documentation of Norwegian music history. The records have great documentary value on how amateur singing bloomed in different regions and towns throughout the country. Once can, of course, find many church choirs, but also choirs with a close relationship to special conductors, such as Valen's Soloist Choir in Sandefjord conducted by Sverre Valen, and Torstein Grythe's Silver Boys Choir of Norway, related to the Norwegian Broadcasting, the NRK.
The great oratorios at the Institute are also worth mentioning. Among the recordings of the Christmas Oratorio by J.S. Bach, there is an LP-version with the Choir of the Thomas Cathedral in Leipzig conducted by Günther Ramin who was cantor there from 1940 to his death in 1956. Listening closely to this historic sound document, one finds a fundamentally different approach to the interpretation of this piece than one would find in today's performances. Baroque music is one of the styles that has gone through the greatest change in performance according to recent music science research on authentic performance practice. Whether anything has been lost during this development can be discussed. Even if the older recordings do not have the sparkling freshness that modern performances have, the modern versions may be found to lack some of the older versions sublimity and individual phrasing. For the record listener, great pleasure can be found in comparing such differences.
All this and more is possible to explore more closely at the Norwegian Institute of Recorded Sound. To our followers on the internet, we want to wish you everybody a happy Christmas, and hope you will find pleasure in the historic recordings presented here. Some Records will be of the same work - so there will be opportunities to compare different recordings as well.
The records were professionally cleaned and digitized by MemNor AS. However, the sound has not been enhanced or cleaned after digitization - all the crack, pops and sssshhhhh are original sound artefacts that we consider inherent to the original recording, with historical value, and thus left as is. The Institute keeps an original wav-file in 96 kHz / 48 bits for preservation and research and presents here the mp3 "reduction" of the preservation file.
We are grateful to George Brock-Nannestad in Denmark who kindly double-checked and provided some of the recording date and venue information.
Last update: 11.04.2011 12:28. Webmaster
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