I was a little surprised when I checked into my blog history and saw that I haven't presented much in the way of sacred choir music (save for Christmas). With this post, I will start on the path to correcting this oversight. (Whatever I just typed, there.) And, when you see Ralph Carmichael's name on a gospel LP, you know you're going to hear some superbly professional singing and playing--and that's just what we get on this 1959 effort from the Sacred label. Spectraphonic high fidelity, no less, from the "world leader in religious records." The back cover has a little box which explains "Spectraphonic Sound," and I'm sure everyone will be rushing to the scan (included in the zip) to find out more about this fascinating process.
Nearly all of these twelve selections are "standard" hymns--that is to say, no There Is Power in the Blood or He Will Set Your Fields on Fire in the playlist. More mainline Protestant classics, and all excellent. The liner notes, however, divide the numbers into three categories: 1) Simple hymnals (hymnals?)--When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, This Is My Father's World, Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand, and In the Cross of Christ I Glory; 2) Anthems as used on Sunday mornings--All Creatures of Our God and King, A Ballad of the Trees and Master, For All the Saints, and Now Thank We All Our God; and 3) Gospel songs (capital G) with string background--The Old Rugged Cross, Wonderful Peace, Ivory Palaces, and I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.
Well, I've never regarded Now Thank We All Our God as an anthem, though For All the Saints definitely qualifies. But why didn't they do Saints in choir-and-organ hymnbook fashion, following Ralph Vaughan Williams' magnificent setting as written? A big missed opportunity, there. The Old Rugged Cross has since graduated to the ranks of standard hymns, though I'm not sure about Ivory Palaces. Depends on the mainline denomination. And mainline hymnals are becoming more inclusive by the year, so... And, for some reason, I thought I Heard the Voice... was in our main UMC hymnal, but I guess not. (Okay, I'm remembering all the way back to my Presbyterian days--it was, and maybe still is, in that hymnal. But with a different tune for the words.) And I'm sure this internal dialogue is totally fascinating.
Some superb music and singing for the first phase of Operation Post More Sacred Choir Fare. Nice to have such a distinguished example to start things off. Oh, and on the MP3 tags I did some corrections on the author/composer credits, which mostly involved including the names of the former (the text writers). Additions and a couple of corrections. To the Sunday sounds...
DOWNLOAD: Hallowed Moments--Ralph Carmichael Choir and Orchestra (1959)
The Old Rugged Cross
All Creatures of Our God and King
A Ballad of the Trees and Master
For All the Saints
Now Thank We All Our God
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
This Is My Father's World
Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand
In the Cross of Christ I Glory
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
Hallowed Moments--Ralph Carmichael Choir and Orchestra (Sacred 8010; 1959)