Monday, November 28, 2011

Sweet singing in the choir

As I was writing on my Leonard Pennario Web log, a friend and I were sitting around the other night drinking wine and listening to the Roger Wagner Chorale.

There is Richard Wagner and then there is Roger Wagner.

And about Roger Wagner, do not knock the Roger Wagner Chorale until you try it.

I am affectionate toward Capitol Records artists because of Leonard Pennario, who made history as the chief classical pianist for Capitol in the 1950s. When Christmas comes I love the lush Hollywood scorings by Carmen Dragon. On the Pennario Web log today I posted "Deck the Halls." As one comment writer on the video said, "The most bombastic version of this song you will ever hear."

Miraculously, just recently, some other Carmen Dragon fan out there besides me has been posting new --well, new to YouTube -- Carmen Dragon Christmas recordings. His "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" is a classic.

Bombastic, but at the same time tasteful. It will not irritate you. Carmen Dragon had that certain something.

So did Roger Wagner. His Roger Wagner Chorale's Christmas carols are so of their era, but they somehow stop short of becoming annoying. They are inventive and shining.

As luck would have it there are Roger Wagner Chorale Christmas songs also recently posted on YouTube.

This "O Tannenbaum" is sure to go viral!

I looked up Roger Wagner because I knew nothing about him other than that I have a picture of Pennario with him. Roger Wagner was from France. I did not know that! He seems to have been super-Catholic. The pope made him a Knight Commander in the Order of St. Gregory. Also the Roger Wagner Chorale made an important 1951 recording of a piece I love, Palestrina's "Pope Marcellus Mass."

He was also music director at a couple of Catholic churches. Imagine that, Roger Wagner as your music director! That sure does not happen much now. After Vatican II, Catholic church music fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Haha! That is a phrase of my ex-housemate Severin and I had to borrow it.

Roger Wagner's daughter Jeannine leads the current Roger Wagner Chorale.


That is so great.

Even with scratches and pops!

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