I’ll admit, I was prepared not to like this book. The Christmas piano market is pretty saturated. Last year I shared my top 10 Christmas books for piano, and even those are only a small selection from the ones I own. So, the question in my mind as I sat at the piano and opened Christmas Reflections, was “why would I need this book too?”
Christmas Reflections published in The Phillip Keveren Series, contains 15 calming carols arranged for easy piano solo. It’s worth noting that the book was originally published in 1997 under the title New Age Christmas. The book fell out of print, but demand has yielded this new edition, re-typeset and with a new title. Many will be familiar with Keveren’s arrangements and compositions. In my view, he is especially skilled as an arranger, a skill which not all composers and musicians possess.
The book contains 15 popular carols in fairly gentle arrangements. In contrast to some of the books I included in my blog post last year, this is not a carol book. These are very much arrangements of carols, all of which Keveren has transferred effectively to the piano as solos in their own right.
As I mentioned, the book was originally published in 1997 under the title New Age Christmas, and the arrangements do have a rather 90s vibe to them (and that’s in no way a criticism). The arrangements sit nicely under the fingers, and as is true of much of Keveren’s music, very clear performance directions are given, including fingering and pedalling where appropriate.
Popular carols include Angels We Have Heard on High, Away in a Manger, Once in Royal David’s City and The Holly and The Ivy. Also included are some lesser-known carols such as Bring a Torch Jeannette Isabella, Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming and O Christmas Tree.
The format is similar for each arrangement: an introduction, then a play-through of the tune, followed by a more intricate version incorporating elements of the introduction. This is very effective, and unlike other carol books, sets these arrangements apart as distinctly piano solos.
Overall, I would suggest that the arrangements will suit pianists of around Grades 2-4 standard. As is always the case with Hal Leonard, they are very clearly presented, and as mentioned above, pertinent and welcome performance directions are given throughout.
So, to answer my original question, yes, I’m pleased to be able to add this book to my already extensive collection of Christmas piano music. The book will suit adults and children alike, and Keveren’s effective arrangements will add a touch of calm to Christmas everywhere.
Christmas Reflections: 15 Calming Carols arranged for Easy Piano Solo by Phillip Keveren, is published by Hal Leonard, ISBN 9781705141113, priced £12.99.
I was sent a review copy of this book free of charge; however, this review is my honest opinion as a teacher. You can find my Reviews Policy here.
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