2007 / Evzone Music
Review by Michael Debbage
Valentine, Easter and Thanksgiving are several special days of the year. Some of their matching attributions respectively are roses, bunnies and turkeys. So what comes to mind when you think of Christmas Day? Probably many essentials such as the birth of Jesus, gifts, Santa, family reunions and of course, very special music. George Skaroulis’ latest seasonal offering Snow can take care of the latter as his peaceful piano playing is in perfect harmony with the spirit of the Christmas creating another stellar snowflake soundtrack.
It has been nine years since Skaroulis recorded his first Christmas project Season Traditions. Although they are several years apart, whether intentional or not, from the seventeen tracks present on Snow there are only two repeat visitations which are “Joy To The World” and “Silent Night”. In fact, the latter has two versions on Snow with the second rendition featuring the only vocal track. Considering the versions here are back to back, the instrumental could almost be construed as a lengthy introduction or the first movement of its vocal twin. Either version, which also includes some minor string embellishments, hold true to the serenity and quietude of the original, along with the slight nuances that one has come to expect from the Skaroulis. This can be best heard on the placid sway of “Do You Hear What I Hear” or the utter transformation of “Linus & Lucy”.
What makes Snow unique is the effortless blending of five tranquil original compositions such as the serene title track that opens the album. Better yet, there is the stop and start of “Christmas Day” leaving places for you, as a listener, to quietly breathe and reflect on the real reason for this special day. Similar themes are gleamed courtesy of “The Brightest Star”.
One of the huge benefits of this particular Christmas album is Skaroulis’ relaxed ability to explore new arrangements of traditional carols and integrate them seamlessly with his original compositions. As a result, this is one of those Christmas recordings that you should not tuck away with the decorations and lights when the season is over. No, just let it Snow gently all year long.
December 1, 2007
Review by Kathy Parsons