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Album Review: Peaceful Solo Piano Christmas 2
Louis Landon
Cover image of the album Peaceful Solo Piano Christmas 2 by Louis Landon
Peaceful Solo Piano Christmas 2
Louis Landon
2017 / Landon Creative
49 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Peaceful Solo Piano Christmas 2 is the sequel to Louis Landon’s 2011 Peaceful Christmas. A colorful collection of fifteen Christmas piano solos, including two originals, this is an album to brighten anyone’s holiday season. Despite the title, several of Landon’s arrangements are joyful and energetic. All of the carols are very recognizable and most have original or improvised interludes within the pieces. All of the songs are of a more spiritual nature - no Santa songs. There is also a companion sheet music book available from www.LouisLandon.com.

Peaceful Solo Piano Christmas 2 begins with “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” It starts out with a traditional rendition of the melody, but the second verse becomes a little jazzier and more contemporary, but still suitable for a sing-along. A breezy interlude brings us back around to the melody - a great arrangement of this holiday classic! The first verse of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” is in blocked chords like you would find in a hymnal, but the second verse picks up the tempo with vibrant left hand rocking octave pattern and a joyful melody - love this one! “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is spritely and energetic with several key changes and a catchy interlude - guaranteed to bring a smile! “My Joyous Christmas Soul” is based on “My Joyous Soul” from Landon’s 2012 album, Peaceful Solo Piano from the Heart, and also contains snippets of six Christmas carols. High energy, overflowing with enthusiasm, and lot’s of fun, it’s a highlight of the album! “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” has always been one of my favorite carols, and I’m constantly impressed with the variety of treatments that work with this oldest of Christmas carols. Landon’s arrangement starts out traditionally, but then a moderate jazz tempo is introduced and brings the haunting melody right into the 21st century - a favorite! “Good King Wenceslas” seems to have made a come-back among instrumental artists with its sweet melody and spirit of generosity. Landon adds his own touches, but stays very true to the original melody - simple and very beautiful! “I Saw Three Ships” is a spirited dance with several key changes and tons of energy! I love the joyful interlude in the middle! “Away In a Manger” is the first carol many children learn and Landon maintains the childlike innocence of the song. He includes a passage of Brahms’ Lullaby as the interlude - a very charming touch! “Christmas Bells” is the second original piece on the album and is bright and energetic, dancing and swirling with joy. “We Three Kings” is another traditional carol that is adaptable to a very wide variety of musical styles. More rhythmically-complex than most of the pieces on the album, it’s a fascinating arrangement - and another favorite. Landon closes the album with an exceptional arrangement of “The Christmas Song” (aka “Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire”). Jazz chords and a relaxed jazz rhythm create warm and cozy holiday magic.

Louis Landon is an amazing pianist/composer/arranger, and Peaceful Solo Piano Christmas 2 will add spirit, heart - and peace - to anyone’s Christmas holidays. The album is available from www.LouisLandon.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!
November 4, 2017