Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Robert Shaw was a Fred Waring protégé who, by the end of his 17-year tenure heading The Robert Shaw Chorale, had fashioned arguably the most widely-known and respected professional choral organization in the United States. The Chorale recorded a number of charting albums, all for RCA Victor, but the one that will always be considered their definitive recording is this Christmas album, presented here in its 1957 re-recorded stereo version (like a lot of popular Christmas albums of the day, Christmas Hymns and Carols had several incarnations, first appearing in the ‘40s as a box of four 78 rpm discs). The album went to #5 on the charts in 1949 and 1957, then hit the charts another three times during the ‘60s; one could argue that, with its seamless medleys and majestic harmonies, it is to this day the gold standard for choral Christmas recordings. Not only does our Real Gone reissue boast a fresh remastering by Maria Triana at Battery Studios in New York and new liner notes by Gene Sculatti, but we have also added two songs that appeared on the mono version of the album but somehow got left off the stereo: “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” (for which we actually did find a stereo master) and “I Sing of a Maiden.” Merry Christmas!