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Album Review: A Classic Christmas II
Christine Brown
Cover image of the album A Classic Christmas II by Christine Brown
A Classic Christmas II
Christine Brown
2018 / Key Image Music
47 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Like it’s predecessor, A Classic Christmas II is a collection of solo piano medleys of Christmas carols and classical pieces cleverly, creatively and enchantingly arranged by Christine Brown, one of my favorite artists for many years. The eleven tracks include one new original piece. Some of the classical composers “seamlessly” woven into the carols include Debussy, Chopin, Beethoven, Grieg and a few folk tunes. Always elegant and graceful, this is music for the quieter moments of the holiday season, or if you are someone who gets caught up in the frantic energy of Christmas shopping and holiday preparations, this music will help you de-stress. A companion sheet music book is also available and is a joy to play!

A Classic Christmas II begins with a haunting medley of “Sing We Now of Christmas” and “Carol of the Bells.” Magical and mysterious with a subtle but compelling energy, I love this combination! Over the past decade or so, there has been a tendency to slow “Jingle Bells” down, and I often dislike those arrangements, but I really like Christine’s, which is coupled with “Over the River and Through the Woods” and little bits from Grieg’s “Morning Mood” - warm, dreamy and very beautiful! One of the more surprising combinations is “O Come Emmanuel” and Debussy’s “Clair de Lune,” and it works seamlessly - also a favorite. “Adeste Fideles / Deck the Halls” begins and ends with a snippet of one of Chopin’s shorter preludes (the one in A major, only this time it’s in C). “Midnight in Bethlehem” is a peaceful pairing of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.” “Joy to the World” works beautifully with Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” plus a surprise appearance by “Frere Jacques” in a few places. Light and carefree, I really love this one, too! “Coming Home” is the tender and nostalgic original composition - a poignant and heartfelt beauty! “Hear the Angels Sing” gracefully combines “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” and “Angels We Have Heard On High” - gently flowing and very expressive. “Holiday Medley” is livelier and more dancelike with “Good Christian Men Rejoice,” “Good King Wenceslas,” and “I Saw Three Ships” - joyful and delightful! I would be hard-pressed to find a more relaxing, soothing lullaby than “Silent Night” paired with “Rockabye Baby” - an elegant update of two memorable classics! Appropriately, Christine closes the album with “Auld Lang Syne,” but she mixes it with “Amazing Grace” for a sweet medley that ends with a sigh.

I’m a big fan of Christine Brown’s “seamless mashups” and A Classic Christmas II is no exception. It will be a wonderful addition to anyone’s Christmas music collection and is certain to brighten the holiday season (and beyond) for many years to come! The album is available from www.ChristineBrownPiano.com, CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes.
October 8, 2018