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snow miser
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Date Posted:11/15/2014 06:49:03Copy HTML

Greetings Chip, et al,

Without question, we all agree that Percy is responsible for the best Christmas Music in the known world, but my question to everyone is...what is your favorite Percy Faith Christmas arrangement and why?  I know it's hard to narrow down greatness to one or two, but there are always top 5 and top 10 lists in entertainment and I thought it would be fun for everyone to discuss their favorite Percy Faith arrangement. 

I also think that it's important that we separate the secular recordings from the sacred recordings because as we all know the mood is quite different. 

So here are my two:

Secular:
Silver Bells - I don't think there is better representation of Christmas thru music than in PF's arrangement of Silver Bells.  Snow falling on the ground, Christmas lights on a tree, a yule log, etc; every single note in that arrangement has Christmas written all over it.  Just perfection!  It gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.  I can only imagine what was going thru PF's brain as he was putting this one together.  And to think that as most Christmas music, it was probably arranged during the hot, summer months.  Another song (non Percy Faith) that creates the same feeling for me is the Hollyridge Strings' arrangement of The Christmas Song, arranged by Stu Phillips.  I once had the privilege of asking Stu what was going thru his head as he wrote that arrangement and he said, "Notes, notes and more notes", which I thought was classic!  For the listener, the arrangement conjures up different memories and for the arranger it can sometimes just be notes on a page.

Sacred:
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear - The local radio stations always seem to leave this one out of their programming and what a shame!  This arrangement doesn't get it's due credit.  It always amazes me, the irony of how a Jewish man in Faith could have epitomized Christmas and the Nativity Scene in his music and again PF does that for me in this arrangement.  Every time I hear this recording, it makes me think of how that first Christmas was like for Joseph and Mary as they worked their way thru Bethlehem looking for an inn.  The music arranger when arranging an instrumental for a song that already has lyrics has the challenge of conveying the lyrics thru their arrangement and from beginning to end, PF gives a perfect musical interpretation of "the world in solemn stillness lay".

This is not meant to be a topic of debate, but more of discussion, as I would like to read everyone's thoughts.  Looking forward to your replies.

Graig

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Re:Your Favorite Percy Faith Christmas Song?

Date Posted:11/16/2014 04:40:56Copy HTML





Graig,

Good topic to honor Maestro Percy Faith with.

As for me, in my 2012
In The Spotlight tribute to Mr. Faith, I posed the question "what can I possibly say about Mr. Faith that I haven't said already after all the years posting on this message board?" And that still holds true today. In fact, anything I'd say, no doubt, would probably be superfluous.

So instead, I'll direct folks to that aforementioned In The Spotlight tribute to Mr. Faith that I posted in December of 2012
(click here), which was the year that I got back into print his classic and legendary Christmas album, Hallelujah (click here).

Again for my 2012 In The Spotlight tribute, please
click here. In the meantime, posted below is an excerpt and something that I have said a multiple of times on the message board in the past:

One of the many things that made Percy Faith the greatest Christmas artist of them all, bar none, is that his Christmas music had an ethereal, celestial and angelic quality to it. In fact, so much so, that it sounds like it was literally piped down from heaven. There was an otherworldly quality to it that no other artist has ever come close to in duplicating -- and I can categorically guarantee you that no one ever will. To be able to evoke such emotion to this degree with his music is what sets Percy Faith apart from anybody else and puts him in a class all by himself. This is exactly why when it comes to Christmas music, he is the undisputed King; the great Master and Maestro.


In my entire collection, there are only two albums that I do not have the audacity to rate on my scale of 1-10, as they are beyond my ability to apply such an arbitrary number due to the sheer perfection that was achieved in their majesty and reverence of arranging, conducting and performance. They are: Music Of Christmas, originally released in 1954 in mono, then re-recorded and re-released in 1959 in stereo; and Hallelujah, originally released in 1958, then later reissued in 1965 as Music of Christmas, Volume 2. To rate these two albums in my opinion, would be like putting a price on the Mona Lisa -- which of course, is priceless.



To all board members:

Please note that earlier tonight I had to remove a reply post from this thread because it wasn't in keeping with the spirit of why Graig created this thread. He created this thread to honor Mr. Faith and for his fans to post their favorite Christmas songs by him. It was not created by Graig as a forum for folks to air dissent or post songs by alternate artists. That's why he filed this thread in the Percy Faith section of the message board.

As Graig clearly stated at the end of his opening post on this thread, "This is not meant to be a topic of debate, but more of discussion, as I would like to read everyone's thoughts."

And he clearly meant that the discussion was to be about your favorite Percy Faith Christmas songs, and nothing more.



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:Your Favorite Percy Faith Christmas Song?

Date Posted:11/17/2014 03:01:33Copy HTML

I agree with you Chip,

IMO, these 2 Albums are unratable because they are way beyond being able to be rated on a scale of 1 - 10.  Also IMO, I don't think there are any other albums, Christmas or other Genre, that could even come close to being as great as The Music Of Christmas" and "Hallelujah!  I would say that they are the best albums in the entire world.  I am sure that there are people who may feel differently, but this is just my opinion.

Of all the albums I have, I listen to these 2 albums several hundred times a year, and they never get old.  The music is truly imcomparable to any other music out there.  I don't want to start a debate though, because this isn't what the Message Board is about.

The music on these albums will last through eternity, and if it were possible to live that long, I would still listen to these albums several hundred times a year.

I apologize if my grammar isn't correct.

My first most Favorite Christmas Song by Percy Faith would have to be "Joy To The World"(Music of Christmas) and secondly, it would be "I Wonder As I Wander" (Hallelujah!)
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:Your Favorite Percy Faith Christmas Song?

Date Posted:11/17/2014 11:00:49Copy HTML


An absolutely great post, Susan. And no need to worry about your grammar, because what you said was from the heart, it was sincere, erudite, and most importantly, it was spot-on, girl. But that's not surprising coming from someone who's Christmas music collection is second only to mine in size.




Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:Your Favorite Percy Faith Christmas Song?

Date Posted:11/18/2014 03:42:02Copy HTML

Boy, that's a hard call, Craig.

Back in 1963 I found myself as a student at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.  (I know!  I know!  What was I thinking?  To this day I still have recurring nightmares in which I find myself back at BJU yet again and in the dream I'm asking myself that same question.  But I digress...).

As Christmas approached, the campus planetarium put on a special holiday show in which they recreated the night sky over Bethlehem at the time of birth of Christ and the narrator speculated about what astronomical event might have been the Star of Bethlehem.  They had a recorded music track backing up the narration, with a terrific rendition of "We Three Kings."  I was so taken by that music that afterwards I buttonholed the guy who ran the planetarium equipment and asked him if he could tell me whose recording of "We Three Kings" they were using in their sound track.  He said it was done by Felix Slatkin. 

I spent the next two or more decades trying to track down that Felix Slatkin recording of "We Three Kings," but was never able to find it.

Then one day in the late eighties  or early nineties I stopped into a little hole in the wall used record store in north Seattle and came across a double LP album of Percy Faith's Christmas music.  I already had one Percy Faith LP, and really liked it, so I bought the double LP.

Can you imagine my surprise and delight when I got home and played that double album and all of a sudden I was hearing again for the first time in nearly thirty years that rendition of "We Three Kings" that I had been searching for since 1963? 

The guy at the planetarium had given me a bum steer!  It wasn't Felix Slatkin!  It was Percy Faith!

So, is that my favorite Percy Faith Christmas recording?  Well, it's up there, probably in my top three.  But since the rule is that we can only name one sacred tune, I'll let this one stand for now.  At least for this year.
Will in Seattle a.k.a. "Clueless"
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Re:Your Favorite Percy Faith Christmas Song?

Date Posted:11/18/2014 12:15:10Copy HTML

Thank you Chip,

I really appreciate :-)
Christmas Isn't Just A Day In December, It's A Way Of Life. Susan
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Re:Your Favorite Percy Faith Christmas Song?

Date Posted:11/18/2014 06:38:29Copy HTML


Sure thing, Susan!



Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri Owner/Webmaster | The Yule Log.com
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Re:Your Favorite Percy Faith Christmas Song?

Date Posted:11/20/2014 09:51:47Copy HTML

My two favorite Percy Faith Christmas songs are definitely "Joy To The World" and "The Hallelujah Chorus".  Of course, that does not diminish any of the other selections on those albums.  Those are the two that stand out for me.  Most of us grew up listening to Mr Faith's Christmas music whether by radio or perhaps we owned the LPs.

I spent my day off today trimming my tree and I'll light it up at sundown.  The background music for the occasion will be "Music Of Christmas" which as we all know leads off with "Joy To The World".
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