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As I'm very aged and a staunch traditionalist, I like them served neat, with any frills only in keeping with the simplicity of the music.

This is Silent Night, as Franz Gruber originally wrote it, with guitar accompaniment:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqUw4PgvytU

When Reger arranged the carol as part of a piano suite (incorporating another traditional German carol in the middle), he was respectful of the original:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLC4HtCrAIk

Even when Liszt had a go at Adeste fideles (in his Christmas Tree Suite), he stayed within the bounds of taste (my taste smirk ) in terms of harmony and rhythm:

https://youtu.be/x3f3aWcUi9I?t=714

......in contrast to some of the jazzed-up versions I've heard recently, which practically destroys the simple tune.

Those from the UK will likely have heard this Carol Symphony, especially when The First Nowell magically emerges from shimmering harps at 12:30 (which was used as the theme music to a children's Christmas drama):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPsOZUMB3NA

Some arrangements can be truly lovely - again if respectful of the music's provenance, like this choral version of Adolphe Adam's O Holy Night by John Rutter:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTFG_nvreoI


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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I like how Bach “destroyed” some chorales with his chorale preludes 😀 They are almost unrecognizable. That being said, when it’s about some anthem/song rather than original compositions, and in particular when it’s about Christmas carols, I tend to prefer complicated re-harmonizations, including “jazzed up” stuff, depending on how good it is for my own taste. Sometimes I also enjoy the purest forms such as in your examples and they bring me the experience of Christmas but more often than not they bore me. But I’m an ex-jazzer after all 😉

Last edited by CyberGene; 12/18/20 06:41 PM.

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That Gruber is absolutely lovely.

This is how I like my Christmas music served: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOPHvlaOCGY

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If one is playing to accompany singing then a strgaightforward simple arrangement is appropriate. But if one is given a performance of Xmas music for piano, then I prefer to choose among the thousands of great, more advanced, and more interesting arrangements.This is what I played in 2013:

John Bayless: White Christmas, Christmas Medley (O Come All Ye Faithful, Angels We Have Heard On High, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing)
J. Fred Coots: Santa Claus is Coming To Town
Bill Cunliffe: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Silent Night
Jacob Koller: Jingle Bells
George Winston: Carol Of The Bells
Dick Wellstood: Jingle Bells
Mike Garson: Home For Christmas, The Christmas Song, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Avinu Malkenu
Rosenblatt: Christmas Fantasy
Max Reger: Silent Night
John Eidsvoog: Three Christmas Postcards (Auld Lang Syne, Santa Claus Is Comin’, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas)
Stan Zielinski: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Sally Deford: Good King Wenceslas, Once In David’s Royal City, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, The First Noel, Deck The Halls
Keveren: Snowfall
Lee Evans: O Christmas Tree, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Ding Dong Merrily On High
Steve Calderone: We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Edward Elgar: Jerusalem
Nikki Iles: The Christmas Song, I Saw Three Shops, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, In The Bleak Midwinter
Fujisawa: Far Away (as sung by Libera)

I still have have most of these in pdf form. If anyone wants up to three of these, please send me PM with your email address.

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^ pianoloverus, I started searching for YouTube videos of some of the arrangements you mentioned and so far they are excellent, exactly what I like! Thanks.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Edward Elgar: Jerusalem
A correction: Jerusalem was composed by Hubert Parry, not Elgar.

Elgar's orchestration (- he didn't make a piano transcription) is the version performed annually in the "Last Night of the BBC Proms" in the Royal Albert Hall, but not this year - Parry's original (with organ accompaniment) was performed instead, by much-reduced forces and no audience, and with the singers socially distanced from each other:

https://www.facebook.com/theproms/videos/jerusalem/812488209487586/


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Apart from Liszt's Weihnachtsbaum that I mentioned earlier (which contains several carols), there are many other piano pieces by great composers that are about Christmas, or based on existing carols.

Even Bartók has his Romanian Christmas Carols:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U314SX3Zu0M

But I've been enjoying playing Martinů's 'Christmas' H.167 in the past few days, consisting of three pieces (Sledge, Lullaby, Carol). This is the only one I could find on YT:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lVdz7OU3e8


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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