Saturday, December 8, 2012

Joseph Martin for Christmas Eve

It's hard to find decent hymn arrangements for the piano. The organ literature is just bursting with beautiful settings of hymns. For piano, not so much, unless you like overly sentimental and cheesy arrangements.

I have gotten into the habit of improvising preludes based on hymn tunes in church. Everyone seems to find it meaningful, not to mention useful when there is a new tune for the congregation to learn. But for Christmas Eve I wanted something a little more thought-through and I wondered if better composers than me had ever tackled this project. There are a few things on, including an odd piece based on Christmas tunes called Weinachtsbaum by none other than Franz Liszt, but nothing that was quite the right length and feel.

I ended up ordering "Christmas Tapestry" by Joseph Martin. Other than an arrangement of Pachelbel's canon (do we really need another one?) the pieces look to be beautiful, prayerful and in good taste. His style is a little bit Debussy and a little bit George Winston. Hurrah! I'm glad it came today, though, because I'm going to need the 16 days of practice time...

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