Usually there's a Christmas music thread this time of year. I haven't seen one yet, so I thought I'd start it myself since I have an excuse.
While visiting relatives recently I found a drawer full of old sheet music we all used to play back when everybody was taking lessons. I'm the only one who plays these days, so I claimed it. I was extremely pleased to find some Christmas pieces I remembered when I started playing again, but could not remember who wrote them.
So let's see what's in Santa's bag...
First up is John Ness Beck's Five Carol Fantasies
. John Ness Beck was British and mostly composed choral music. As far as I can tell, this collection seems to be some of the only piano music he wrote. The arrangements are quite nice, moderately advanced, but it only took me a little work to mostly relearn them. What's also interesting is that this collection was published in 1971, which means that my piano teacher decided it was worthwhile for her students almost as soon as it came out. Unfortunately it's now out of print and used copies are kind of pricey.
Next we have Carl F. Mueller's Christmas Fantasia
. Like John Ness Beck, Carl Mueller seems to have mostly composed choral pieces and most of his keyboard works were for organ. This piece was in my piano teacher's "music basket" which was full of material students could sign out to play on their own. But everybody wanted to play this one so I eventually ended up with my own copy. It sounds a bit dated now, but I still like it and again, didn't have too much trouble relearning most of it. I wasn't able to find out too much about Carl Mueller other than he was American and seems to have been well-known at one time. This piece is still in print. You can find videos of kids wailing away on it in church on Youtube.
Last, there is A Musical Christmas With Peter Duchin
. I had been looking for this book for years because it was my all-time favorite Christmas book. Unfortunately all I could remember about it was it was "that hardback book with the red cover." That wasn't good enough for Google and nobody in my family could remember anything else about it, other than it had actually existed. These are 61 short (with one exception) arrangements of carols by the band leader Peter Duchin. Most of the arrangements are fairly easy to play, but there are a few difficult ones. There is an extended theme and variations version of The Twelve Days of Christmas that is a lot of fun. Unfortunately once I found it again I was reminded that this was also the book that never stays open on the music desk so I might have to get another copy to cut the binding and ring-bind it, or do some scanning. It's well worth getting a copy of this book if you collect Christmas music.
So that's it for me. Anyone else familiar with these collections? Or want to add your own favorites new or old?