Title: PERCY FAITH: A Special Tribute To The Great Master & Maestro
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Christmas Music Guru
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Status: Lawrence F. Arcuri Owner/Webmaster of TheYuleLog.com
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(Date Posted:12/20/2012 11:00)


                                                              

   



Since I have an entire category dedicated to him alone, there has never been an In The Spotlight tribute to Percy Faith up to now. But I think that given the incredible magnitude of the contribution that this great man has made to the Christmas music genre, one is totally appropriate. However, what can I possibly say about Percy Faith that I haven't said already in all the years on this message board? So instead, I think I will repost here something that I have said several times already, but it is most fitting here for this special tribute because it pretty much says it all:

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.


As I'm sure everyone is fully aware by now, these two classic and legendary albums are the #1 and #2 albums in my Top 500.


With a total of 10 songs on the original 3-hour program, Percy Faith was already the undisputed King of the Yule Log. And in keeping with that tradition, I awarded him a total of 4 songs in the new fourth hour that I added to the telecast in 2009. For this In The Spotlight tribute, I am featuring 2 of those 4 newly added classic songs.


The first song is from his second Christmas album, Hallelujah, which I was very proud to finally have gotten re-released on CD this year after 12 years of being out-of-print, and it's his incredibly poignant and reverent rendition of Away In A manger. And to go out with a glorious bang, the second song is from his first Christmas album, Music Of Christmas, and it's his equally incredibly majestic and triumphant rendition of Good King Wenceslas.


When you hear these two absolutely spectacular songs, you will clearly see why nobody who ever came before Percy Faith, or will ever come after him, will ever do for Christmas music what he did...









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Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri
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snow miser
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RE:PERCY FAITH: A Special Tribute To The Great Master & Maestro
(Date Posted:12/20/2012 14:16)

Chip,

I have two boys and I still don't know how I managed NOT to name one of them Percy.  I have nothing but respect, appreciation and admiration for Percy Faith's contribution to our favorite type of music and to music in general.  How he was able to portray the "heavenly" part of Christmas in his music is total GENIUS!!  Probably did most of the arrangements in July heat which is even more impressive. 

Thanks again for the article...Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Graig
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RE:PERCY FAITH: A Special Tribute To The Great Master & Maestro
(Date Posted:12/20/2012 14:55)


Happy Holidays to you as well, Graig!

It wasn't July, but pretty near close; Mr. Faith arranged, conducted and recorded these two legendary Christmas albums in the spring!

Music Of Christmas
Recorded on May 24th, 25th and 26th 1954 in New York City (Columbia catalog #CL-588)
Re-Recorded in Stereo on June 16th and 19th 1959 in New York City (Columbia catalog #CL-1381/CS-8176)

Hallelujah
Recorded on May 20th, 21st and 29th 1958 in New York City (Columbia catalog #CL-1187/CS-8033)

**Reissued as Music Of Christmas, Volume 2 in 1965 (Columbia catalog #CL-2405/CS-9205)



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Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri
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RE:PERCY FAITH: A Special Tribute To The Great Master & Maestro
(Date Posted:12/20/2012 23:01)

I recall hearing Johnny Mathis speaking highly of Percy Faith about when he recorded his masterpiece "Merry Christmas" LP during some hot summer weather; I believe this was also in the summer of 1958? 

Both the Mathis and Faith LP versions of "O Holy Night" are virtually identical to my ears.  I wonder if Mathis recorded the same time Percy was in studio for Hallelujah! ?

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RE:PERCY FAITH: A Special Tribute To The Great Master & Maestro
(Date Posted:12/21/2012 14:40)


Percy Faith recorded his first version of O Holy Night in May of 1954 for his LP Music Of Christmas, and then re-recorded it in June of 1959 for the Stereo re-release of the album. The version that he recorded with Johnny Mathis for Johnny's LP Merry Christmas was in June of 1958, a month after recording his second Christmas LP, Hallelujah.



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Lawrence F. "Chip" Arcuri
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RE:PERCY FAITH: A Special Tribute To The Great Master & Maestro
(Date Posted:12/21/2012 17:55)

Very simply, there is no Christmas album that shouts Christmas more than Music of Christmas.  Percy Faith's interpretations of these timeless Christmas carols project the feelings and emotions of Christmas like no one else can or ever will.

I've had the 1959 re-recording of Music of Christmas for a few years and this year purchased the newly released set containing the original 1954 edition and Hallelujuah! from 1958.  Never had the full LP of either the 1954 or '59 recording but we did have a 45 EP edition of the original recording, the one with the father cradling his daughter on the cover.  I used to think it was really Santa Claus!

If I could only have two Christmas albums, it would have to be Music of Christmas and Hallelujah! 

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rgsauer
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RE:PERCY FAITH: A Special Tribute To The Great Master & Maestro
(Date Posted:12/24/2012 08:45)


I got the new CD and love it.  This music means Christmas to me.  Your description of it's ethereal, celestial and angelic quality hits the nail on the head.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!
Ron
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