Thursday, December 20, 2018
The Testor Chorus--Christmas Carols from Many Lands (1959; recorded in 1957)
From December 27. 1957, this is the Testor Chorus singing live in Rockford, Illinois. This taped performance was released two years later on today's LP, Christmas Carols from Many Lands. I didn't feel like ripping the Messiah excerpts, so we get Side 2 only. My copy is all snap, crackle, and pop, with a jump in Carol of the Drum when I played it with my regular stereo stylus. I switched to my wider mono needle and laid on the tracking force, and the results were way better. And no jump. The declicking filters of VinylStudio and MAGIX spelled the end of the Rice Krispies noise.
Carol of the Drum, of course, was stolen in 1958 by Harry Simeone and Henry Onorati and retitled The Little Drummer Boy. Actual author Katherine K. Davis got her song back, but had to share credit with the thieves, because that's how copyright "law" works, so to speak, in our country, I guess. Totally absurd, and Wikipedia glosses over the issue in its usual irresponsible fashion in its Little Drummer Boy entry. W. keeps asking me for money. When pigs fly.
Love the way the chorus races through Drum--ironic that, between the taping of the number and its appearance on vinyl, it would be stolen and retitled. The really cool thing about this LP is that we get two more Davis choral compositions--Swedish Dance Carol and As It Fell Upon a Night. The side starts with Gustav Holst's "choral fantasy" Christmas Day, which is many levels below what I'd expect from that amazing composer, but so it goes sometimes. Nice to encounter such a serious, professionally done company holiday LP (from an outfit that makes model kits and adhesives!), and, while the chorus isn't world-class, it's quite good. I find myself focusing on accompanist June Olson Ives' excellent work, though. The sound glitches at the start, by the way, were in the original tape--it's nothing I did.
Funny how they race through Carol of the Drum but sing Silver Bells like a dirge. Winter Wonderland fares much better, though I was almost expecting the High Spirits to step in with their tambourines and other classroom percussion. Doesn't happen.
Considerably better than you might expect. This effort from Testor doesn't test our patience. Get it? Testor, "test our." Ha, ha, ha!
CLICK HERE TO HEAR: The Testor Chorus--Christmas Carols from Many Lands
Christmas Day (Holst)
Swedish Dance Carol (Davis)
The Snow Lay on the Ground (Sowerby)
What Can This Mean (Staley)
Carol of the Drum (Davis)
As It Fell Upon a Night (Davis)
Silver Bells (Livingston-Evans)
Winter Wonderland (Smith-Bernard)