Review: The Piano Player, Christmas Time

If you’ve read some of my previous reviews of books in The Piano Player series (Wintertide and British Classics), you’ll know that I like the covers almost more than the music inside, and this latest edition, Christmas Time, is no exception. With so much piano music for Christmas out there, and indeed, as I’ve written before, I have a whole shelf of it, what does this book offer that others don’t?

Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea
The Piano Player, Christmas Time

The first thing to reiterate, once again, is that these books are beautifully designed, featuring the artwork of Edward Bawden. In that sense, each one makes a lovely gift item or present, but also the series will, for many, be enjoyable to collect. This latest edition of piano music for Christmas, Christmas Time, contains ’25 of the best-loved carols and Christmas songs’ arranged for intermediate piano. Lyrics are also included for ‘singing along’.

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There is a really mixture of piano music for Christmas included here, from traditional carols such as ‘Away in a Manger’, the ‘Coventry Carol’, and ‘Joy to the World’, to popular Christmas favourites, such as ‘Driving Home for Christmas’, ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Little Drummer Boy’, and ‘Stop the Cavalry’. As ever, the term ‘intermediate piano’ has a loose definition. Some of the arrangements here could be tackled by a competent Grade 3, but most, in my opinion, fall into the Grade 4-6 bracket.

We Three Kings

Most of the arrangements are fairly ‘straight’, and therefore, as stated, suitable for singing along. Unlike some other books of piano music for Christmas, jazz is primarily reserved for those jazzy numbers such as ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘The Christmas Song’. This book is therefore a great option for a pianist of this level, who’d like to play familiar carols and Christmas songs as they were intended. Therefore, in a crowded marketplace, I think that this, for me, is the main selling point of this volume, particularly when there are so many books of easy carol arrangements out there.

Do They Know It's Christmas from The Piano Player, Christmas Time

As I have grumbled previously, so far as I can see, no arrangers’ names have been credited. I suspect that some of the arrangements have also appeared in other Faber Publications. That said, this is another lovely volume in The Piano Player series, and in particular, for someone collecting them, this will be a super addition. The series offers players a good cross-section of music, including this volume of piano music for Christmas. They are lovely books, clearly laid out and presented, with beautiful cover artwork a gorgeous bonus.

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The Piano Player, Christmas Time is published by Faber Music, ISBN 9780571543083, RRP £9.99.

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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