I do love the Christmas music I grew up with which included German music that just seems to exude peace, love, beauty especially when the church bells ring. Often the bells ring before and after Silent Night is performed. I don’t like the many songs out there where the singers sound like screeching cats butchering iconic carols nor do I like the music that is called Christmas music because they throw in the word Christmas in it. I don’t mind Dean Martin, Perry Como etc... but I always go back to the great classically nuanced carols or music that has that vibe like the Harry Simeone chorale. I also just love...love the Bonanza Christmas album that has a whole story with musical interludes all sung by Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker and one song by Pernell Roberts. It’s not Christmas until that album is played.
One of my favourites is a Christmas album sung by Ivan Rebroff. He was a German singer with a freakish 8 Octave range who could sing from low F to high F...2 octaves over C. He fancied himself more Russian than German even though he was German, but he may have had Russian lineage. He loved to dress up like a Cossack and was a true workaholic working 7 days a week for a 2 years...not just months...crazy nut. He was born in 1931 and, sadly, died in 2008 while only in his 70s. He could play the violin and piano/organ, became a citizen of Greece and lived on one of the islands and was known for his robust personality and 6' 5" build. I played one of his songs, last year, here...a favourite song of mine but I am going more traditional with the German music so here we go.
1. SILENT NIGHT SUNG BY REBROFF-1970
This famous carol was composed by Frank Gruber in 1818 after the Napoleonic wars, in Oberndorf, Austria with lyrics by Joseph Mohr who was a school master and organist. Due to flooding the organ was damaged so this is why it was first heard with the guitar.
2. STILL, STILL, STILL SUNG BY REBROFF-1970
This is a famous song, again, Austrian in origin composed near Salzburg. It actually is a German folk tune but Georg Gotsch created the lyrics back in 1865.
3. O DU FROHLICHE SUNG BY REBROFF-1970
This comes from a Latin hymn called O Sanctissima, which you may have heard Bing sing in the film, “The Bells Of St. Mary's" with Ingrid Bergman. Johannes Daniel Falk set this to a German text after he lost 4 of his children to Typhoid fever. He founded a rescue house for abandoned children in Weimar area and dedicated this song to the children.
Hope you listened and enjoyed.