Peaceful Christmas Piano Solos

Sheet Music Review

Peaceful Christmas Piano Solos from Hal Leonard offers a collection of 30 seasonal pieces arranged for solo piano.

Stick with me to find out what’s included…


A Peaceful Collection?

Housed within a subtle, understated cover, Peaceful Christmas Piano Solos succeeds in looking very sophisticated from the outset:



Within, printed on 88 white pages, are the 30 solos, which are as follows:

  1. Angels from the Realms of Glory
  2. Auld Lang Syne
  3. Away in a Manger
  4. Blue Christmas
  5. Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella
  6. Christmas Lights
  7. Coventry Carol
  8. The First Noel
  9. Glow
  10. Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  11. The Holly and the Ivy
  12. (There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays
  13. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
  14. I Wonder as I Wander
  15. In the Bleak Midwinter
  16. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
  17. It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas
  18. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
  19. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
  20. O Come, All Ye Faithful
  21. O Holy Night
  22. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  23. Once in Royal David’s City
  24. Silent Night
  25. Silver Bells
  26. Walking in the Air
  27. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
  28. When a Child is Born
  29. White Christmas
  30. A Winter’s Tale

There’s certainly a lovely mix here, ranging from traditional classics to the swinging Christmas favourites of the mid twentieth century. Here’s a collection which certainly boasts lots of appeal!

To what extent these pieces are all peaceful is more open to debate; certainly some of the arrangements and song choices lean more towards the Christmas party and enthusiastic spirit of the holiday season more than to those quiet hours after the children go to bed on Christmas Eve!

The Arrangements

It should be noted here that no words are included: these are very much solo piano arrangements of the songs. We are not told who arranged them for solo piano, but they have certainly done a pretty solid job.

The arrangements would suit players at late-intermediate to early-advanced level, as is typical for piano songbooks of this kind, and an awareness of stylistic conventions such as swung quavers is assumed.

Pedalling is sometimes (admittedly, a little randomly) included, but regrettably there are no fingering suggestions (a recurring problem with such piano songbooks). Some will be happy to busk their way through the collection without sparing this a second thought; for the best musical outcome of course I would recommend giving careful consideration to fingering alternatives.

Some phrase marks and limited dynamics are present, but for the most part interpretation is left to the player, which is fine given the ubiquity of Christmas songs from October onwards each year: these arrangements actually provide an ideal opportunity for players to explore their own personal interpretation.

Harmonies at times venture towards the jazzy end of the spectrum (including in the more traditional tunes such as Adolphe Adam’s gorgeous O Holy Night, which here benefits from some lovely major seventh chords), and I found the arrangements to be in good taste throughout, if not quite pianistically equal to the excellent Phillip Keveren arrangements I recently reviewed from the same publisher.

Conclusion

A big draw of this publication is the spot-on selection of seasonal music, blending together so many great pieces in one affordable book. Most appear here in better-than-usual arrangements, too, making the book a delicious concoction for the Christmas holiday season.

Reservations are few and far between, and I really can’t imagine anyone being disappointed in this excellent collection.

Peaceful Christmas Piano Solos is without question one of the best and most useful anthologies of its kind currently on the market. Bravo!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Available worldwide from musicroom.com here.


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Published by

Andrew Eales

Andrew Eales is a pianist, writer and teacher based in Milton Keynes UK, where he runs Keyquest Music - his successful independent music education business, private teaching practice and creative outlet.

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