Christmas Countdown: Still, Still, Still

Still, Still, Still

Still, Still, Still is an Austrian Christmas carol and lullaby. In German its first line is “Still, still, still, weil’s Kindlein schlafen will!” (Hush, hush, hush, for the little child wants to sleep!)

The melody is a folk tune (authorship unknown) from the State of Salzburg. The tune appeared for the first time in 1865 in a folksong collection of Maria Vinzenz Süß (1802-1868), founder of the Salzburg Museum; it has changed slightly over the years but remains attributed to G. Götsch.

The words, which run to six verses in German, describe the peace of the infant Jesus and his mother as they sleep. There are various English translations.  This is one version:

Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed,
The world is sleeping,
Holy Star its vigil keeping.
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
‘Tis the eve of our Saviour’s birth.
The night is peaceful all around you,
Close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
‘Tis the eve of our Saviour’s birth.

Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number,
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.

December 12 ~ in Music History

Christmas Countdown: Still, Still, Still

• 1887 ~ Kurt Atterberg, Swedish composer

• 1889 ~ Václav Štěpán, Czech pianist and composer

• 1900 ~ Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice & Sing”, composed. It was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) in 1900 and set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873–1954) in 1905.

• 1915 ~ Frank (Francis Albert) Sinatra, American actor and singer of popular music

• 1918 ~ Joe Williams (Joseph Goreed), Jazz singer, sang with Count Basie, actor on The Bill Cosby Show

• 1938 ~ Connie Francis (Concetta Franconero), American singer and actress

• 1941 ~ Terry Kirkman, Wind instruments, keyboards with The Association

• 1941 ~ Dionne Warwick, American Grammy Award-winning of popular music

• 1942 ~ Mike Pindar, Keyboards with The Moody Blues

• 1943 ~ Dickie Betts, Guitar with The Allman Brothers and also Great Southern

• 1943 ~ Mike Smith, Organs, singer with The Dave Clark Five

• 1943 ~ Grover Washington, Jr., American jazz saxophonist

• 1946 ~ Clive Bunker, Drummer with Jethro Tull

• 1949 ~ Paul Rodgers, Piano, vocals with Free, Bad Company, The Firm

• 1959 ~ Sheila E. (Escovedo), Drummer, singer

• 1959 ~ Paul Rutherford, Singer with Frankie Goes to Hollywood

• 1984 ~ The group known as Band Aid, 38 of Britain’s top rock musicians, recorded Do They Know This is Christmas? for Ethiopian famine victims. Despite the best of intentions, much of the food raised never got to the starving Ethiopians. In fact, much of it was found rotting on docks, not fit for human consumption. More than a Band-Aid was needed to fix that political mess.

• 1989 ~ Lindsay Crosby, son of crooner Bing Crosby, died

• 2002 ~ Actor Brad Dexter, who rode with Yul Brynner as one of the “Magnificent Seven” and became a confidant of both Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra, died. He was 85. Burly and handsome, he was often cast as a tough guy in supporting roles, which included 1958’s “Run Silent, Run Deep,” starring Burt Lancaster and Clark Gable, and 1965’s “None but the Brave,” starring Sinatra. He made his film debut in the “The Asphalt Jungle” in 1950, but his most prominent role came in 1960’s “The Magnificent Seven,” in which he starred with Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn. Born Boris Milanovich in Goldfield, Nev., Dexter made guest appearances on the 1950s television shows “Zane Gray Theater,” “Death Valley Days” and “Wagon Train.” In January 1953, he married singer Peggy Lee, but they divorced eight months later. Soon after his divorce, Dexter befriended Monroe. In 1954, he tried unsuccessfully to persuade her to stay with her husband, Joe DiMaggio. His friendship with Sinatra took on legendary proportions during the filming of “None but the Brave” in 1964. On location in Hawaii, Sinatra nearly drowned and Dexter saved his life.

• 2002 ~ Marvin O. Herzog, who traveled the world with his for 58 years, died of pancreatic cancer. He was 70. Herzog was a polka celebrity who regularly booked 170 appearances a year. He and his band would travel more than 75,000 miles a year in a converted Greyhound bus. For years, Herzog was the star and co-sponsor of Frankenmuth’s Summer Music Fest, which drew about 25,000 visitors annually to the town known for its Bavarian events and shopping. Born in Frankenmuth, Herzog lived there his entire life. He quit his job at Star of the West Milling in 1973 to concentrate full-time on polka music. He played a Cordovox – a mix of organ and accordion. Herzog recorded 32 albums, including his Schnitzelbank and Octoberfestrecords in German as well as Polish, Italian and English polkas. He had a radio show and co-hosted a television show. Herzog was inducted into the International Polka Association Hall of Fame in 1979.

Christmas Countdown: Ding Dong! Merrily On High

Ding Dong! Merrily On High

Ding Dong! Merrily On High

“Ding Dong Merrily on High” first appeared as a secular dance tune known as “le branle de l’Official” in a dance book written by Jehan Tabourot (1519–1593). The lyrics are from English composer George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848–1934), and it was first published in 1924 in his The Cambridge Carol-Book: Being Fifty-two Songs for Christmas, Easter, And Other Seasons. Woodward had an interest in church bell ringing, which no doubt helped inspire this carol

Ding dong! merrily on high
In heav’n the bells are ringing:
Ding dong! verily the sky
Is riv’n with Angel singing.
REFRAIN

Gloria,
Hosanna in excelsis!
Gloria,
Hosanna in excelsis!
E’en so here below, below,
Let steeple bells be swungen,
And “Io, io, io!”
By priest and people sungen.
REFRAIN

Pray you, dutifully prime
Your matin chime, ye ringers;
May you beautifully rime
Your evetime song, ye singers.
REFRAIN

Note: “Swungen” and “Sungen” in the second verse are archaic English verb forms.

 

December 11 ~ in Music History

today

 

Christmas Countdown: Ding Dong! Merrily On High

OCMS 1803 ~ Louis-Hector Berlioz, French composer, conductor, music critic and major force in the development of musical form during the Romantic Era
More information about Berlioz

• 1876 ~ Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, Polish composer and conductor

• 1882 ~ The Bijou Theatre in Boston, MA became the first theatre to be lighted by electricity.

• 1908 ~ Elliot Cook Carter, Jr., American composer

• 1916 ~ (Damaso) Perez Prado, Piano, organ

• 1926 ~ Willie Mae ‘Big Mama’ Thornton, Blues singer

• 1931 ~ Rita Moreno (Rosita Alverio), Dancer, Academy and Emmy Award-winning actress

• 1934 ~ Curtis Williams, Singer with The Penguins

• 1935 ~ Tom Brumley, Steel guitar with Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, Stone Canyon Band

• 1939 ~ Marlene Dietrich recorded Falling In Love Again on the Decca label.

• 1940 ~ David Gates, Guitarist, keyboard, singer with Bread

• 1944 ~ Brenda Lee (Tarpley), American singer of popular music

• 1944 ~ “The Chesterfield Supper Club” debuted on NBC radio. Perry Como, Jo Stafford and many other stars of the day shared the spotlight on the 15-minute show that aired five nights a week. The show was sponsored by Chesterfield cigarettes.

• 1952 ~ An audience of 70,000 people watched from 31 theatres as Richard Tucker starred in Carmen. The event was the first pay-TV production of an opera. Ticket prices ranged from $1.20 to $7.20.

• 1954 ~ Jermaine Jackson, Singer with The Jackson Five, brother of Michael, Janet, La Toya, Tito, Randy, Marlon and Jackie

• 1973 ~ Karen and Richard Carpenter received a gold record for their single, Top of the World.

• 1982 ~ Toni Basil reached the #1 one position on the pop music charts for the first time, with her single, Mickey.

• 2000 ~ Ruth Martin, a writer whose translations of both popular and obscure operas were widely used in American opera houses, died at the age of 86. Martin collaborated with her husband Thomas Martin in translating the librettos of some of the world’s most famous operas, including Mozart’s Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, as well as Puccini’s Boheme, and Bizet’s Carmen. Martin and her husband also translated some of the rarest operas, such as Offenbach’s Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, and Dvorák’s Rusalka. The Martins’ translations were marked by their clarity and singability, and despite the increasing use of closed-captioning systems in major opera houses, their translations are still used widely. Martin contributed articles on opera for Opera News, Aria, and Theater Arts. She also served on the boards of the New York Federation of Music Clubs, the Liederkranz Foundation and the National Opera Foundation.

• 2001 ~ Erik Johns, who wrote the libretto for Aaron Copland’s only full-length opera, The Tender Land, died in a fire at his home in Fishkill, N.Y. He was 74. Born Horace Eugene Johnston in Los Angeles, Johns began his career in music as a dancer. He met Copland when he was 19 at a New Year’s Eve party in New York. In 1952 the two began collaborating on an opera based on Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, a book by writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans that describes the lives of several Southern sharecropper families during the Depression. Copland composed the music and Johns wrote the libretto, or the words. The work was originally commissioned as a television opera by NBC but was subsequently rejected by the network. The New York City Opera performed it at its premiere at City Center in April 1954 in a short two-act version. The two later added a third act.

• 2001 ~ Jose Fajardo, a Cuban flutist who was one of the most influential bandleaders in Latin music, died an aneurysm. He was 82. The Cuban native had emigrated from Cuba in 1961, when he refused a request from the Cuban government to continue a musical tour to other communist countries. During his lengthy career, Fajardo recorded more than 40 albums and performed around the world. He was credited with expanding the audience for charanga, a Cuban musical style that backs a singer with flute, violins, piano, bass and percussion. Fajardo started his first group, Fajardo y sus Estrellas, in the 1940s. He later led three bands by the same name. After moving to the United States, he founded bands in New York and Miami and began performing in new style called pachanga, featuring a slightly more assertive rhythm. Fajardo was featured on “Cuban Masters: Los Originales,” an album of performances by leading Cuban musicians that was released November 2001.

• 2002 ~ Kay Rose, the first woman to win an Academy Award for sound editing, died. She was 80. Rose won the statuette for her work on the 1984 film The River. A native of New York, Rose was recognized in March with a career achievement award from the Cinema Audio Society. The Motion Picture Sound Editors gave her a similar lifetime achievement award in 1993. In October 2002, directors George Lucas and Steven Spielberg endowed the Kay Rose Chair in the Art of Sound and Dialogue Editing at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television. The chair is the first of its kind in the country. After studying film at Hunter College, she became a civilian film apprentice for the Army Signal Corps during World War II. There, she helped create such training films as How to Erect a Double Apron Barbed Wire Fence and the John Huston documentary Report from the Aleutians. She moved to Hollywood in 1944 and found a job as an assistant to an editor at Universal studios. In 1951, she married film editor Sherman Rose. Together, they produced the 1954 sci-fi cult classic, Target Earth. They later divorced. During her five-decade career, Rose received sound editing credits on such films as The Rose, Ordinary People, On Golden Pond, The Milagro Beanfield War, The Prince of Tides, For the Boys and Speed.

Christmas Countdown: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

 

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel is the mid-19th-century translation by John Mason Neale and Henry Sloane Coffin of the Ecclesiastical Latin text “Veni, veni, Emmanuel”.

The text is based on the Biblical prophecy from Isaiah 7:14 that states that God will give Israel a sign that will be called Emmanuel (Literally: God with us). Matthew 1:23 states fulfillment of this prophecy in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

December 10 ~ in Music History

today

 

Christmas Countdown: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

• 1822 ~ César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck, Belgian composer and organist

• 1823 ~ Theodore Furchtegott Kirchner, German composer

• 1906 ~ Harold Adamson, Lyricist

OCMS 1908 ~ Olivier Messiaen, French composer
More information about Messiaen

• 1910 ~ Dennis Morgan (Stanley Morner), Singer, actor

• 1910 ~ Tenor Enrico Caruso and conductor Arturo Toscanini were featured at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City for the world premiere of Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West.

• 1913 ~ Morton Gould, American Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, conductor and pianist

• 1924 ~ Ken Albers, Bass singer with The Four Freshmen

• 1927 ~ For the first time, famed radio announcer George Hay introduced the WSM Barn Dance as the Grand Ole Opry. The show’s title may have changed but it remained the home of country music.

• 1930 ~ Duke Ellington and his orchestra recorded the haunting Mood Indigo on Victor Records. It became one of the Duke’s most famous standards.

• 1943 ~ Chad Stuart, Guitarist, lyricist, singer with the duo – Chad & Jeremy

• 1946 ~ Christopher ‘Ace’ Kefford, Bass with The Move

• 1947 ~ Walter ‘Clyde’ Orange, Drummer, singer with The Commodores

• 1948 ~ Jessica Cleaves, Singer with Friends of Distinction

• 1949 ~ Frank Beard, Drummer with ZZ Top

• 1949 ~ Fats Domino recorded his first sides for Imperial Records. The legend from New Orleans recorded The Fat Man, one of the earliest rock and roll records. The title also turned into Domino’s nickname and stayed with him through his years of success.

• 1951 ~ John (Raul) Rodriguez, Singer

• 1953 ~ Harry Belafonte debuted on Broadway in Almanac at the Imperial Theatre. Critics hailed Belafonte’s performance as “electrifyingly sincere.” Also starring in the show: Hermione Gingold, Billy DeWolfe, Polly Bergen and Orson Bean.

• 1966 ~ The Beach Boys made a one-week stop at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 asGood Vibrations made it to #1. It was the third #1 hit the group scored. The others were I Get Around and Help Me, Rhonda.

• 1967 ~ Otis Redding and four members of the Bar-Kays (Otis’ backup group) were killed in the crash of a private plane near Madison, Wisconsin. Redding was 26 years old. His signature song, (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay was recorded three days before his death. It was #1 for four weeks beginning February 10, 1968. Redding was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. The Bar-Kays biggest hit was in July, 1967: Soul Finger. James Alexander, bass player for the group, was not on the plane. Ben Cauley, trumpet player, survived the crash. The group played for a time with various new members.

• 1987 ~ Jascha Heifetz passed away
Read quotes by and about Heifetz
More information about Heifetz

 

Christmas Countdown: Mary Did You Know

Mary Did You Know

The Pender Choir sang an arrangement of this Christmas Carol December 2, 2012 and as part of the 2015 Christmas Cantata.

Mark Lowry wrote the words in 1984 when his pastor asked him to write the program for the living Christmas tree choir presentation. The music was written by Buddy Greene.

Mary did you know that your baby boy would some day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Oh Mary did you know

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will walk again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I AM