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Album Review: The Magic Of Christmas
Philip Wesley
Cover image of the album The Magic Of Christmas by Philip Wesley
The Magic Of Christmas
Philip Wesley
2018 / Autumn Music Productions
48 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Magic Of Christmas is pianist/composer/arranger Philip Wesley’s second Christmas album. His first, Comfort and Joy, was released in 2005. One of the biggest differences between the two albums is that The Magic Of Christmas includes eight original pieces, some of which are quite short (under two minutes), and add a beautiful personal touch to the album. All eighteen tracks are on the quiet, thoughtful side that provides a welcome respite from the often frantic pace of the holiday season. Some light orchestration was added to a couple of the tracks. The orchestrations and mastering were both done by Doug Hammer of Dreamworld Productions,
and the sound quality is velvety smooth.

The ten arrangements include “O Holy Night,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” a slow and mellow version of “Jingle Bells,” “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” and “Auld Lang Syne.”

“The Whisper of Winter” is the first of the original pieces, and is a short, gentle prelude that sets the tone of the album. “Winter Has Come” is very free and relaxed and expresses the chill and crystalline beauty of the first snow of winter. “Home Is Where The Heart Is” is much more melodic with feelings of nostalgia and fond memories. Much of “Memories Of Christmas Past” is played in the upper registers of the piano, giving it a feeling of childlike innocence. Subtle strings, bells and choir voices enhance the sense of wonder and poignance. This is my favorite piece on the album. “New Fallen Snow” returns to the freedom and ambience of some of the earlier tracks, painting a peaceful soundscape that is quiet and magical. “She Looks Like An Angel” is a love song, pure and simple! “Christmas Without Them” is also lightly orchestrated and expresses the sadness that comes from the loss of loved ones and seems especially painful during the holidays - gorgeous and deeply heartfelt. The title track is much lighter with a bit of sparkle added!

I proofed the sheet music for the companion songbook to The Magic Of Christmas, and highly recommend that to all of the pianists out there. The album is available from PhilipWesley.com, Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, and Apple Music as well many streaming sites. It will be a Christmas treasure for many years to come!
December 24, 2018
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