Saturday, December 05, 2015

Christmas 78s, part 2--"Santa Claus Polka," "The Skaters Waltz," more!

Yes, the Santa Claus Polka, from 1926, no less.  It's pretty cool.  No words, however.  Here are four of the five sides you'll be hearing this time around:


Messiah--Hallelujah Chorus (Handel)--Mark Andrews, Pipe Organ Solo, 1925,
The Skaters--Waltz (Waldteufel)--International Concert Orch., Dir. Nat Shilkret, 1926.
Santa Claus Polka--Ottar Argee's Quintette, 1926,
Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (Jessel)--International Concert Orch., Dir. Nat Shilkret, 1928.
Winter Song (Bullard)--Shannon Four, 1922.

Ripped by me from my 78 collection.

Click here to hear: Christmas 78s, Part 2 .

The sound quality on Mark Andrews' 1925 Hallelujah Chorus organ solo is fabulous.  Astounding, really.  Remember that 1925 was the first year, commercially at least, for electrical recordings.  I played this arrangement on the piano many years ago for a choir concert, and it's tons of fun, especially the last part and the 16th (8th?) notes in the right hand.  Unlike Joy to the World, Hallelujah Chorus really was written by Handel.  Great piece, but it starts sounding like modern pop music by the umpteenth time, owing to its incessant repetition.  Is Handel the father of today's play-the-same-phrase-over-and-over school of pop composition?  (No.)

Leon Jessel's Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (Die Parade der Zinnsoldaten) hails from 1897, though it achieved mass popularity in the 1920s.  We'll be hearing Nat Shilkret's 1928 recording.  Wonderful piece, even if the composer was in with the Nazis.  Or so he had hoped.  Didn't work out that way, according to Wikipedia.

Winter Song isn't really a Christmas song, but why let that get in the way of including a neat season-of-snow number in the sleighlist?  And so here it is.  The Shannon Four (soon to become the Revelers) is superb, as usual.  The piece, composed in 1898 by Ferderic Bullard, is pure glee club.  (I'd say "hardcore glee," but this is a family blog.)

The Santa Claus Polka is beautifully performed and, polka-wise, very much of its time (1926).  I revised my initial equalization to help the xylophone ring out.  Be prepared for some virtuoso polka-ing.

Emile Waldteufel's pops concert staple The Skaters Waltz is something my brain insists on associating with Alvin and the Chipmunks, which means I must have first heard it on their cartoon.  I can't believe that I once found the Chipmunks hilarious, but I did.  Of course, the waltz predates the Chipmunks by many decades--French composer Waldteufel penned it in 1882.  A gorgeous piece of composing, and its simplicity is completely intentional.  It takes a master composer to pare a piece down to only the essential notes and chords.  Many decades later, that was Leroy Anderson's forte, too.



Anonymous said...

love the old 78rpm material.

it fills a niche.

i pledge my fellowship.

my fell-EL-O... ship.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Ha! Thanks. (-:

Ernie said...

Luverly, luverly!