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Christmas Album
     

The Christmas Album

by Herbert von Karajan
 
This compilation draws Christmas music from several recordings conducted by the late Herbert von Karajan, but emphasizes two of them, both from the 1960s: a collection of Baroque Christmas pieces in a mostly pastoral vein, and an LP on which he and the Vienna Philharmonic backed the great African American soprano Leontyne Price.

Overview

This compilation draws Christmas music from several recordings conducted by the late Herbert von Karajan, but emphasizes two of them, both from the 1960s: a collection of Baroque Christmas pieces in a mostly pastoral vein, and an LP on which he and the Vienna Philharmonic backed the great African American soprano Leontyne Price. Neither of these recordings is easy to obtain these days, and Karajan aficionados may well be pleased to have them in a single package. Beyond that, the Price pieces, from her heyday, are gorgeous. They offer abundant indications of why this singer was a phenomenon well known before operatic circles, with easily accessible examples of her way of intentionally just missing the pitch with her vibrato and all of a sudden resolving the tension with a dramatically well-considered flash. Her voice stood out from the crowd absolutely, and these are great and quite neglected Christmas recordings. The Baroque pieces and the miscellaneous others likewise faithfully reflect Karajan's style at the helm of his Berlin Philharmonic. Nobody else could do Tchaikovsky with quite the sensuous touch he had, even if that touch in the likes of the Manfredini "Christmas Concerto, Op. 3/12" (track 10), now seems a trifle self-indulgent. The Deutsche Grammophon engineering team faced a challenge with the vastly different sonic environments of these recordings, the earliest of which are from 1961, but the results are listenable. A find for Karajan fans, and an even better one for those of Leontyne Price.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/10/2014
Label:
Deutsche Grammophon
UPC:
0028947939269
catalogNumber:
002179802
Rank:
7563

Tracks

  1. O Tannenbaum (O Christmas Tree) (German)
  2. Exsultate, jubilate, motet for soprano & orchestra, K. 165 (K. 158a): Alleluja
  3. Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71: Waltz of the Flowers
  4. Ave Maria, for voice & piano (after Bach's Prelude No. 1 from the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1)
  5. Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her
  6. Mass No. 15 for vocal soloists, chorus & orchestra in C major ("Coronation"), K. 317: Agnus Dei & Dona nobis pacem
  7. Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71: Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy
  8. Ancient Airs and Dances, Set 3, arrangements (4) for strings, P. 172: Siciliana
  9. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (adapted by W. H. Cummings from Mendelssohn's Festgesang for the Gutenberg Festival)
  10. Concerto Grosso in C major, Op. 3/12 "Christmas Pastorale": Pastorale. Largo
  11. Ave verum corpus, motet for chorus, strings & organ, K. 618
  12. Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71: Dance of the Reed-Pipes
  13. God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen (English)
  14. Nutcracker, ballet, Op. 71: March
  15. Magnificat, for 5 voices, 5-part chorus, orchestra & continuo in D major, BWV 243 (BC E14): 1. Magnificat
  16. Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht (Silent Night)

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