Producing atmospheric Christmas programmes in the 1950s fell into the remit of radio stations: records with festive music were not available during the early post-war years. For RIAS, the Berlin radio station under American control, the early 1950s were the heyday in this respect. Year after year, distinguished singers, including Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Rita Streich, Erna Berger, Elisabeth Grümmer and many others, were engaged to perform for these radio shows. This disc presents the impressive results of these recordings made between 1950 and 1964. Most carols on this disc are folksongs or folk-like. Their simple, catchy tunes, setting words from Martin Luther’s time through to the 20th century, tell of naïve piety. Renowned composers and church musicians of the 1950s produced, mostly for such Christmas programmes, tasteful arrangements of these carols. The spectrum of arrangements on this disc stretches from sparing but emphatic lute dabs right up to the onomatopoeic expansion of orchestral sonorities which do not shy away from a nod towards Puccini. The fact that all these diverse Christmas offerings were produced without the slightest whiff of sentimentality is largely due to the performers who transformed these miniatures into little gems.


Vom Himmel hoch... Christmas Carols - Berlin, 1950-1964:
Es blüh’n drei Rosen
Da droben auf dem Berge
Und unser lieben Frauen
Maria durch ein’n Dornwald ging
Maria auf dem Berge
Schlaf, mein Kindelein
Schlaf wohl, du Himmelsknabe du
Stille Nacht
Die Himmelsbotschaft ist erklungen
Joseph, lieber Joseph mein
Zu Bethlehem geboren
Es wird schon gleich dunkel
Das himmlische Menuett
O Jesulein zart
Wiegenlied in der Weihnacht
Kommt all herein, ihr Engelein
O Jesulein mild, o Jesulein zart
Lobt Gott, ihr Christen allzugleich
Ich steh’ an deiner Krippen hier
Gelobet seist du, Jesus Christ
Vom Himmel hoch, ihr Engel kommt
Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen
Ave Maria zart, du edler Rosengart
Süßer die Glocken nie klingen
Vom Himmel hoch


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