Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Christmas In July 2009-Day The First

Well, here it is. The moment I've been waiting for since at least last week. It's the first day of Christmas in July 2009, and I hope you're as excited about it as I am. As I've done for the past three years now, I'm going to be sharing with you Christmas and holiday songs that you might not otherwise know about because they come from non-holiday albums. Have you ever been listening to a record and one of the songs seems like it doesn't belong? It may talk about Santa Claus or reindeer or Christmas, yet it's right there in the middle of non-holiday music. Well, those are the songs I try to collect up here during the month of July. I used to record these for myself, then save them for Christmas time, but now I collect them and share them with you. All the songs I'm sharing are ripped by me from my own vinyl. You won't find any music here from CDs, it's all scratchy vinyl. I also pride myself on making sure the files I share with you are properly tagged, so when you play it, you can tell what it is. Unfortunately, the files don't come with artwork. That would just be way more work than I want to do for a single track at a time. Anyhow, come back each day of the month, and you'll be able to download a new package of music that you may or may not have ever heard before. Now, on to the sharing!

I didn't know what to start the month off with, but when I found a record featuring Andre Kostelanetz and Peter Ustinov performing The Nutcracker Suite together, I knew I had a winner. And to round things out, I threw in nine more songs from that same suite, as performed by seven more artists. So you get a total of 24 tracks today, which I dare say is more than you're going to get on any other day this month. Never say that I don't start things out with a bang!

Now, the first 15 tracks in the Zip file are the aforementioned Kostelanetz-Ustinov Nutcracker. I'm pretty sure the two artists recorded their bits independently, as I was able to cut them into tracks quite easily. The spoken bits by Peter Ustinov are writtenby Ogden Nash, and, unfortunately, I don't think they're as good as the versions I shared by Mr. Nash himself last year. But you'll probably enjoy them. The LP these are from is Carnival Of Marriage/Nutcracker Suite (Columbia Masterworks M 30677) and here are the tracks:

Andre: Miniature Overture, March, Dance Of The Sugar-Plum Fairy, Russian Dance, Arabian Dance, Chinese Dance, Dance Of The Flutes and Waltz Of The Flowers.

Peter: Nutcracker Suite, Dance Of The Sugar-Plum Fairy, Russian Dance, Arabian Dance, Chinese Dance, Dance Of The Flutes and Waltz Of The Flowers.

Next up in the ballet is Sammy Nestico With Leon Breeden And The North Texas State Lab Band doing Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy from their LP The "Swingphonic Sound" Of Sammy Nestico With Leon Breeden And The North Texas State Lab Band (Mark Educational Recordings-Ensemble Series MES 32244). No idea where this comes from, but it's a nice version.

Thirdly we have a great version of almost the whole suite in miniature from Spike Jones And His City Slickers entitled Nutcracker Suite (Russian Dance [Trepak]; Dance Of The Flutes; Arabian Dance; Chinese Dance; Miniature Overture-March) from the compilation Spike Jones Is Murdering The Classics (RCA Red Seal LSC-3235(e), 1971). Yes, I know it's in fake stereo, but it's not like I can request to find specific records when I'm trolling the thrift stores... This is probably my favorite version after the Fred Waring one. They sort of remind me of each other, actually.

Fourth is two tracks from Xavier Cugat And His Orchestra from the great Living Stereo LP The King Plays Some Aces (RCA Victor LSP-1882, 1958). The two tracks are Danse Arabe and Danse Des Mirlitons. I've been wondering for a while if Xavier did any Christmas music through his long career, and I think these two count. If you'd like the whole LP, I believe it's still shared out here at Stax o' Wax.

Where was I? Oh, fifth is blog favorite John Klein, ably assited by Leo Addeo (not doing Hawaiian music for a change) on a medley called Sweet Nutcracker! from the LP Bells In Toyland (RCA Victor LSP-3832, 1967). You will hear more tracks from this one later in the month, guaranteed.

Number six is two tracks from conductor Antal Dorati Conducting The London Symphony Orchestra. They are Waltz Of The Flowers and the rarely-heard Waltz Of The Snowflakes from the LP Antal Dorati Conducts Waltzes By Tchaikovsky (Mercury Living Presence SR90395). Good stuff.

Seven is E. Power Biggs & His Pedal Harpsichord performing Russian Dance (Trepak) from his album Holiday For Harpsichord: Fun-Filled Favorites From E. Power Biggs & His Pedal Harpsichord (Columbia Masterworks MS 6878). You haven't enjoyed the harpsichord this much since The Addams Family last aired.

And last (for now) we have Camarata Conducting The Kingsway Symphony Orchestra, with another performance of Trepak, from the LP The Heart Of Tchaikovsky (London Phase 4 SPC 21027). Short, but sweet. I actually recorded this one from a very scratchy LP, only to find a much cleaner copy further down the stack of LPs I have set aside for recording, so I had to do it all over again. I need to pay more attention to such things, I guess.

So there you have it, 24 tracks for you enjoyment. More than an hour of Tchaikovsky. Good luck sitting through that. Here's the download link, have at it. See you all tomorrow!

If that's not enough nutcracker for you, I can highly recommend Waltz Of The Flowers and Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy by Hal Mooney from Day 14 of last year's Christmas In July. They're great! That same day also featured other Tchaikovsky tracks as well, so don't be afraid to grab the whole thing. Still not enough? Day 32 (?) & Day 26 last year and Day 15 from 2007 are also filled with Nutcracker goodness. Did I miss any? Maybe.


Stephen said...

Ernie, I won't ever Never say that you don't start things out with a bang! This is a great collection, and I especially like the John Klein (who knew carillons could sound so great?), of course, and the harpsichord one, which reminds me of a 70s TV theme that I can't put my finger on.

Looking forward to the rest!

Buster said...

Hey Ern,

Is it Christmas already? I better hang the lights and bake some cookies.

Thanks for your efforts, as always!

Badgercat said...

Ernie, this is a GREAT way to begin Christmas in July!

Each person is partial to their own favorite Christmas music, but the Nutcracker Suite with Andre Kostelanetz and Peter Ustinov would be an awesome share by itself as far as I'm concerned!

Can't wait to see what to unwrap next...

Unknown said...

Thanks, Ernie! You consistently provide some of the best Christmas shares on the interwebs.

Puckwheat said...

AS I seem to say every year, Ernie...youo are amazing. Thank you for doing what you do. believe me it is GREATLY appreciated!

Arvid Steen said...

I have been searching internet for The "Swingphonic Sound" Of Sammy Nestico With Leon Breeden And The North Texas State Lab Band (Mark Educational Recordings-Ensemble Series MES 32244). I came to your blog. Do you know where I can get these recordings. I have got the sheet music for these recordings and would like to hear the music too. Sincerely, Arvid Steen, Norway