Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Christmas In July 2018-Day 11

Hmmm, nothing special about day 11.  Not an anniversary of anything, not an even number, though it is odd and prime.  So I'd best quit talking about it and give you what you want, more Christmas music!

1. My Favorite Things (From The Musical Production "The Sound Of Music") by The Trapp Family Singers And Chorus, Arranged And Conducted By Father Franz Wasner. from their LP version of The Sound Of Music (RCA Victor LSP-2277, Stereo, 1960).  It was probably inevitable that the subjects of the Sound Of Music play would perform the songs from it at one point.  And this is the closest thing we get to a Christmas song from that play, though the Trapp Family did record other Christmas music.

2. Christmas Time's A Coming, a bluegrass Christmas classic by Reno & Smiley And The Tennessee Cutups from their last LP Last Time Together (Starday SLP 485-498, Stereo, 1972).  Not sure of the exact genesis of this track, I certainly don't think it's the hit version, so I don't know why they chose to revisit it, but I'm glad they did!

3. Blue Doll by Kitty Kallen-Orchestra Under The Direction Of Milton De Lugg, from her album If I Give My Heart To You (Columbia CS 8204, Stereo, 1960).  I think just about any song with the word doll in the title sorta kinda counts as Christmas music.  Maybe.

4. Rise Up Shepherd by The Highwaymen from Standing Room Only! (United Artists UAS 6168, Stereo, 1962).  No, this is not the country supergroup with Willie, Waylon, Kris and Johnny, but that would be awesome if it were!

5. Overture Miniature begins tonight's Nutcracker Suite, as performed by Warwick Symphony Orchestra from the first LP on the label, Nutcracker Suite/Carnival Of The Animals (Camden (RCA) CAL-100, Mono, 1954).  Good place to start.

6. Marche by Alfred Wallenstein Conducting The Virtuoso Symphony Of London from Romeo And Juliet Fantasy Overture-The Nutcracker Suite (Audio Fidelity (Mexico) FCS 50,006, Stereo, 1959). Yawn.

7. Dance Of The Flutes by The Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra Conducted By Felix Slatkin from Nutcracker Suite/A Midsummer Night's Dream (Capitol SP8404, Stereo, 1957).  Was Felix Slatkin's time at the Hollywood Bowl right before Carmen Dragon?  I know this is before he started releasing those Fantastic Strings albums on Liberty.

8. Waltz Of The Flowers by Linda Kent from The Many Moods Of The "Mighty Mo" (AC/ATOS (Atlanta Chapter, American Theatre Organ Society) 30767, Stereo, 1977).  The Mighty Mo was apparently some organ, but you probably figured that out on your own...

9. Chinese Dance (Nutcracker Suite) by Carmen Dragon Conducting The Capitol Symphony Orchestra from Orientale (Capitol P-8453, Mono, 1963).  Speaking of Carmen Dragon, here he is!

10. Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy, not the whole song though, just some narration by Peter Ustinov from Nutcracker Suite-Between Birthdays-Verses By Ogden Nash (Columbia Masterworks ML 5664, Mono, 1961).  Classic stuff.

Is that it?  Yep, ten tracks.  Don't forget to come back tomorrow for more!



barba said...

man, that must be the fastest version of “dance of the flutes” i’ve ever heard. someone must have given the score to slatkin and he said. “oh, not THAT old thing… all right guys, let’s get this over with quick”. stuff happens. i once heard about a well-respected conductor who got a little tanked at intermission and who thought he’d then impress the world with a lentissimo start to beethoven’s fifth. impressive, yes. but it would have taken about ten hours to finish the thing at that rate. so the concertmaster started slapping his knee and gesticulating with his bow at the other musicians trying to pick up the pace. i wish i could have seen it.

i was raised to believe that a certain proper respect was to be shown serious art and music. people involved in its presentation would surely so believe (yuck yuck). you people like christmas music? ok, i’ll tell you a christmas music story. i was at lincoln center almost 20 years ago for a 50th anniversary engagement of gian-carlo menotti’s “amahl and the night visitors”. big build-up. pricey tickets. but truth be told, the work is held in rather low esteem by the musical intelligensia who deem it a saccharin children’s story with music made for television on a deadline. without the 50th anniversary business, they wouldn’t have let it into lincoln center. as it was, they relegated it to a basement hall that looked like it had hosted the cast party to don giovanni the night before and no one had bothered to clean up after. hanon exercises could be heard hammering through a wall. they didn’t even allot it a full venue. the performance took place in the middle of a large stage that was actively being used for storage, so that no matter how hard you tried to focus on the opera, it was still surrounded by sundry scenery, props, and assorted lincoln center junk.

i guess the cast sang well enough. no orchestra, just a piano. the costumes and staging were… well, minimalism comes to mind. [fashionable at the time (and easy and cheap).] i’m not sure if the shepherds really wore blue jeans and t-shirts. my memory is not what it once was. i’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say no. but i took foreign guests to that performance at the world famous lincoln center. and it was an embarrassment. on that point, my memory serves and will serve me well for the rest of my life.

menotti, or perhaps just his alter-ego amahl, seems to be the rodney dangerfield of christmas music. certainly he gets no love or respect around here either. we’ll get the vandellas singing “heat wave” before the magi sing “have you seen a child”. but it’s july. the temperature’s rising. the juke box is blowing a fuse. we’ll see what happens in future decembers.

Ernie said...

That's, um, quite the story. It saddens me to think that 20 years ago was only 1998... :( Well, maybe not quite 20 years. If Amahl debuted in 1951, the 50th anniversary would have been 2001, same year we first discovered the Monolith. There should be life on Europa by now, and people should respect Amahl!

giampiero darini said...

Please Ernie lately too much tracks from The Nutcracker ...

Buster said...

Felix Slatkin and his wife Eleanor Aller Slatkin were one-half (if my math is right) of the Hollywood Quartet, one of the best quartets of the time. They made a living in the Hollywood studio orchestras. Their son Leonard is currently the music director of the Detroit Symphony.

I like Gian-Carlo Menotti's music, some of it anyway.

Ernie said...

But The Nutcracker is the greatest Christmas musical of all time, even bigger than Diehard! If I didn't have those tracks, I'd be sharing three songs a day, and half of those would be Greensleeves and Skater's Waltz. No one wants that.

giampiero darini said...

Don't misunderstand me Ernie ... I adore The Nutcracker but I'm sure that in your fantastic archive you have thousand of beautiful Christmas tracks that are non only Greensleeves and Skater's Waltz ..

Stubby said...

They made a Diehard musical? How did I miss that?

Ernie said...

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! All Vaughn Monroe all the time!!

Kwork said...

Thank you for another night!