December 11, 2020 — Did you know Jingle Bells is one of the best-known songs in the world? It was written by American musician James Pierpont (1822–1893) and first “released” in 1857 as “One Horse Open Sleigh”.
The Ostrogothic Fantasy Orchestra strikes back with two new EP-releases for Christmas! The track-lists are available below, and as can be heard, the EP-pair includes reworked classics like “Jingle Bells”, “Silent Night”, and “O Come, All Ye Faithful” — some tracks have been remixed to sound both new AND old.
Surprisingly, “Jingle Bells” has no original connection to Christmas, it became associated with the holiday decades after it was first performed in 1857 by blackface minstrel Johnny Pell in Ordway Hall in Boston, USA. Some area choirs adopted it as part of their repertoire in the 1860s and 1870s, after which it became featured in a variety of parlor songs and college anthologies in the 1880s. “Jingle Bells” was first recorded in 1889 on an Edison cylinder; this recording, believed to be the first Christmas record, is lost, but an 1898 recording (also from Edison Records) survives.
The origins of Christmas classic “O Christmas Tree” is surrounded by mystery. It is based on a traditional folk song from Germany (where it is known as “O Tannenbaum”.) Some historians believe its tonality hails back to heathen, pre-Christian times since it is not known HOW the folk song became associated with the Christmas tree, but it is well-attested WHEN it happened: in the 1850s. From that time on, the carol has been sung at Christmas all over the Western world.
Listen on Spotify, Apple Music, etc. ► https://legen.do/Yulemino
Listen on Spotify, Apple Music, etc. ► https://legen.do/Yulemixo
There’s a remarkable story about the carol “Silent Night.” Supposedly, the song was first performed on Christmas Eve in 1818, only a few hours after it had been written! An Austrian priest by the name of Joseph Mohr was in desperate need of music for his midnight mass since his church’s organ was broken. So, Joseph More penned the lyrics for “Silent Night” and brought them to his friend and organist Franz Gruber, who composed a simple melody for a guitar accompaniment.
As heartwarming as this tale sounds, it’s not entirely true. Joseph Mohr actually wrote the lyrics to “Silent Night” several years before, in 1816.
Regardless of its origin, the carol has proved to be immensely popular. It was first translated into English by hymnodist Emily Elliott in 1858, and again by John Freeman Young in 1859. Since that first performance, the lyrics have been translated into over 100 languages, and merrily sung by carolers all over the world.
At last, I would like to seize this moment to wish everyone an incredibly Merry Christmas!