Well we’ve made it. The holidays are upon us and for the last few weeks we have been exploring the sacred music of the Christian world. We looked at the Eastern and Western Europe and the Orthodox and Catholic worlds and we looked at the New World and one of the most important pieces of modern sacred music; now for our last installment of the holiday season we will explore one more place and one more type of music and that is that of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Now I know that the Christian world is much larger Eastern and Western Europe and North and South America; however, our library is young and a work in progress. Please be patient while we grow and include as much music as possible. We will eventually cover more regions and religions of the world. With that said, let’s get going!
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah (where else!) in 1847 only one month after the arrival of the first Mormons to the area. Those that wish to join must be members of the Church of Latter Day Saints, be between the ages of 25 and 55, and live within one hundred miles of Temple Square (a 10 acre complex in the heart of Salt Lake City). The choir currently has 360 members and is led by Mack Wilberg. The choir also uses an organ with over 11,000 pipes for most of its accompianments although a capella and orchestras are also used for performances.
Throughout its history, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has accomplished much. In 1910, their first recording was made and Grammy was won in the 1950s. A weekly radio broadcast has been going out since 1929 and many world tours have been made as well.
The album, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Celebration, which we have here in The Public Records is a 1987 Time-Life Music recording of traditonal Christmas carols and features accompianments by The Philadelphia Brass Ensemble and Percussion, the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein, the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy, the Royal Philharmonic conducted by Richard Condie, and with Alexander Schreiner and Frank Asper on organ – a line up which is nothing to sneeze at!
I was also curious as to what a carol was, so I looked it up. A carol, which is mostly associated with Christmas these days, is technically not a piece of religious music. It comes from the Old French carole coming from the Latin choraula. Sound familiar? It should with English words like choral, chorale, chorus. Anyway…back to carol. In old France, these carole were circular dances that were accompianied by singers and were the ‘pop’ songs of their heyday (1150-1350). It was only later that they began to take on more and more religious meaning (probably a good way of getting the masses (haha mass – get it?) involved). The most famous carols are for Christmas, but Easter and Advent also have their own as well.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Celebration will definitely get you into that festive Christmas spirit and speaking of festive spirits – any cocktail from our awesome gin menu will be a great addition to any or all of the 3 discs in this set. The cold, the candle light, and the juice of the juniper conjure up visions of a traditional night of yore! So from all of us at Tellus360: Happy Holidays!