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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