Perhaps it was the frost on the car this morning or maybe it was the fact that I have heard Christmas music already on the radio, but this morning Christmas tunes started dancing in my head. When you have the Christmas tunes already working their way into your musical mind, there is no turning back. So this morning, it was a nice warm cup of coffee and a newly released Christmas album that did the trick.
There are certainly no shortage of Christmas albums on the market and many mainstream performers have realized that by releasing a Christmas album they are able to appeal to a broader range of fans and market themselves even more. But for me, the thought of listening to Justin Bieber sing Deck the Halls just isn't really all that enticing. Rather, listening to an album that is a brilliantly performed instrumental representation of Christmas music is much better alternative.
A Steinway Christmas is a beautifully composed Christmas album with the music of the album performed on the iconic Steinway piano. The music is pure and unadulterated and allows the tradition of the Steinway piano to be showcased in a truly remarkable way. With an instrumental album, there needs to be a keen focus on ensuring that the music speaks for itself in terms of quality and expertise as you do not have the benefit of vocals or lyrics being able to bail you out. That said, the instrumental skill with the music on this album is able to stand alone and leaves the listener with a exceptionally well produced and performed album.
The music performed on this album was done so by Jeffrey Biegel and the music was arranged by Carolyne M. Taylor.
The album has a good mixture of rather regularly known Christmas songs and some others that might not be as well known. It starts off with a great rendition of Sleigh Ride that has a couple of unique piano twists mixed in from what is typically heard. Other popular Christmas favorites include Ding Dong! Merrily on High and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Though these are rather traditional Christmas songs that often times do not have much variation, one of the best traits of this album is that the music does branch out from time to time to add a certain individual flavor to each track.
One of the best tracks on the album is the arrangement over three tracks of music from The Nutcracker. Perhaps one of the most widely recognized instrumental Christmas songs of all time, true homage is paid to The Nutcracker on this album with amazing precision and detail paid to each and every note spanning the three tracks.
As many Christmas albums close out, A Steinway Christmas ends with the track Auld Lang Syne. A soft yet dynamic way to close out the album and provide the listener with one last glimpse into the music the Steinway piano is capable of, this track is the perfect fit for the final track and winds down the album nicely. There is a final emphasis on this track meant to exhibit what a truly good instrumental album can be all about.
1. Sleigh Ride
2. The Sussex Mummer's Christmas Carol
3. Ding Dong! Merrily on High
4. Quiet Night
5. The Christmas Song
6. Fetes de Noel
7. The Nutcracker
8. The Nutcracker
9. The Nutcracker
10. Aus der Jugendzeit
12. The Seasons
13. In the Bleak Midwinter
14. Silent Night
15. Christmas is A-Comin'
16. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
17. The Shepherds at the Manger
18. Bring a Torch/I Saw Three Ships
19. Christmas Lullaby
20. Grown-Up Christmas List
21. Auld Lang Syne
Though we all may not have the good fortune of having a Steinway piano in our homes coupled with a skilled and talented musician around for the holidays to play it, with the new album A Steinway Christmas we all are able to enjoy some of the highest caliber instrumental Christmas music around. The album is an ideal album to have playing around the house during the holidays and could serve as background music during a Christmas party or just playing on loud while trimming the Christmas tree. The caliber of the performances on each and every track is top notch and the album is a Christmas season must have.
A Steinway Christmas was produced by Steven Epstein and the album is on the Steinway & Sons label.
For more information about the album, you can visit http://www.arkivmusic.com/albumpage/612301-E891-5.
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