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A Virgil Fox Christmas


Release Date: 11/09/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 66088   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Felix MendelssohnTraditionalFranz SchubertHenry Walford Davies,   ... 
Performer:  Virgil Fox
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Now reissued by ArkivMusic, here is the legendary Virgil Fox performing in his inimitable style on the great Aeolian-Skinner organ of Riverside Church in New York City. An album first released in the early 1960's, it is once again available, exclusively through ArkivMusic.

Virgil Fox gives voice to the 10,000 pipes of this gigantic organ through a console which contains five manuals and a wealth of stops, pistons, and pedals. The organ is divided into ten departments: Great, Swell, Choir, Solo, Pedal, and Celestial divisions above the chancel, and Great, Swell, Echo, and Pedal divisions in the rear gallery, about a city block away from the chancel departments. The console has seven swell pedals plus a general crescendo
Read more pedal.

These tremendous resources make possible an infinite variety of tonal colors and mixtures, and a broad scale of dynamics. Virgil Fox uses them with exquisite taste and imagination, performing these traditional carols with a glowing eloquence that no choir of voices could attain.

From the jubilant opening of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing to the fading close of Silent Night, from the subdued Greensleeves to the powerful conclusion of O Little Town of Bethlehem, the album abounds in subtle contrasts and colorful effects, such as the harp, celeste, and carillon which are featured in O Sanctissima. The echo passages in Silent Night, the alternating choirs of pipes in Adeste Fideles and Joy to the World, and the spaciousness of sound in O Little Town of Bethlehem are other notable features.

Most of these carols are familiar, while others are less well known but equally evocative of the nostalgic spirit of Christmas. Many listeners may not be aware that the beloved melody of Greensleeves was once used for a carol called What Child is This? La Nativité, from Jean Langlais's Trois Poèms Evangéliques, is more modern in style, but fits perfectly into this Christmas program. Its four sections, played without pause, are titled The Manger, The Angels, The Shepherds, and The Holy Family.

Virgil Fox, recognized internationally as one of the great organists of all time, concertized extensively throughout the world, in addition to his regular duties as organist of the Riverside Church in New York City. He interpreted music of Bach in the very place of its composition, the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, and played concerts in the Cathedrals of Westminster, Lincoln and Durham, the King's College Chapel in Cambridge, the Marienkirke in Lübeck, and the American Church in Paris.

Album liner notes
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Works on This Recording

1. Festgesang "Hark! The herald angels sing" by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
2. O come, O come Emmanuel by Traditional
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 15th Century; France 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
3. Ellens Gesang III, D 839/Op. 52 no 6 "Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1825; Vienna, Austria 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
4. O little town of Bethlehem by Henry Walford Davies
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
5. Greensleeves by Traditional
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
6. Joy to the World by Lowell Mason
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; USA 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
7. Ave Maria by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
Notes: This work is based on J.S. Bach's Prelude no 1 in C from 'The Well-Tempered Clavier.' 
8. O Sanctissimus by Traditional
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
9. It came upon the midnight clear by Richard Storrs Willis
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
10. Panis angelicus by Anonymous
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Medieval 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
11. Adeste fideles "O come, all ye faithful" by John Francis Wade
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1782; England 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
12. Nouveau livre de noëls (12), Op. 2: Excerpt(s) by Louis-Claude Daquin
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1740; France 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
13. Gesu Bambino by Pietro Yon
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; USA 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
14. La nativité by Traditional
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
15. The first nowell by Traditional
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Written: England 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
16. Marche religieuse by Traditional
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
17. Messiah, HWV 56: Hallelujah! by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1742; London, England 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 
18. Silent Night by Franz Xaver Gruber
Performer:  Virgil Fox (Organ)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1818; Austria 
Venue:  Riverside Church, New York City 

Featured Sound Samples

Ave Maria (Schubert)
The First Nowell (Traditional)
Messiah (Handel): Hallelujah!

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Virgil Fox June 1, 2012 By Stuart Carlton (Pine Grove, CA) See All My Reviews " This was a very early recording by Fox and I'm sure that the best effort was made to convert it to CD, but when compared to others of the magnificent recordings by Fox, it is very poor. Seems as if the microphones were always placed in the wrong places. I have many of the original LP's of Fox, and the CD transcriptions, and this doesn't belong with them. " Report Abuse
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