is pianist/composer George Skaroulis’ second Christmas CD, following 1998’s “Season Traditions.” Made up of five self-composed pieces and twelve original arrangements of traditional songs of the season, Skaroulis masterfully keeps the mood serene and relaxed from start to finish. More reflective than joyful, the quiet approach to all of the music gives it a melancholy cast, and, more than once, I thought Skaroulis could be nicknamed “The Wizard of Ahhhhs.” All but the closing vocal/piano/strings version of “Silent Night” are solo piano - a treat! Skaroulis offered Snow
last year as a digital download only, and this year it is also available in CD form but only from his website (evzonemusic.com
The title track begins the CD and sets the mood. One of the five original pieces, “Snow
” is classic Skaroulis with its understated ambience and gentle thoughtfulness. “Joy to the World” is very subdued and flowing. “Do You Hear What I Hear” is exquisite in its childlike wonder and innocence. Simple and honest, this piece is perfect for Skaroulis’ approach. “Christmas Day” is another original. Warm and content, it’s kind of like a mug of hot cocoa in front of a crackling fire. “Song For Peace” is simple, honest, and heartfelt. Its gentle flow is soothing and full of hope. “The Brightest Star” is a sweet vignette - a specialty of Skaroulis’ that shows how to get a complete musical idea across very quickly yet completely. His variation on the “Linus and Lucy” theme is a surprise. Almost unrecognizable (I teach several versions of this piece all the time), it’s a charming interpretation. Skaroulis’ “The Gift” has the same minor key haunting beauty of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and “The Coventry Carol.” That and “Ruby’s Song” that follows, are vignettes that don’t need another note to make them complete. “Silent Night” is in two parts. First, an instrumental prelude for piano and strings that is absolutely gorgeous. The second part includes vocals by Kevin Lawson, who also appeared on Skaroulis’ “Forever Young” CD singing “True Colors” - a beautiful arrangement of this Christmas standard. Snow
closes with “Auld Lang Syne,” again solo piano, simple, direct, and calming.
is sure to be a Christmas favorite for many seasons to come. Hear samples and buy it either as a download or in CD form at evzonemusic.com