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Songbook Review: Carols of Christmas
David Hicken
Cover image of the songbook Carols of Christmas by David Hicken
Carols of Christmas
David Hicken
2013 / Enchanting Music
56 pages / 12 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
The Carols of Christmas songbook is the companion sheet music book to David Hicken’s incredible 2013 recording by the same name. All twelve pieces from the CD are included, transcribed by Hicken himself (and proofed/edited by me) exactly the way he played them on the recording. This is a fantastic collection for the more advanced pianist, but is not so challenging as to feel impossible. Hicken’s arrangement of “The Bell Carol” (“Carol of the Bells”) is the best I’ve ever heard, and that one will take some work because of the speed, but what a blast to play! I actually played the sheet music draft before hearing the recording, and about halfway through the piece just stopped and said “Wow!!!” This one gets the adrenaline flowing bigtime! “Adeste Fideles/ O Come All Ye Faithful” is the other piece that requires some pretty serious chops, but it’s a great arrangement and huge fun to play - all of the songs are! “The Holly and the Ivy” is probably the easiest of the twelve pieces, followed by “Away In a Manger” and “The First Nowell.”

The book itself is printed in the 12”x16” format on bright white paper. The pages are stapled and stay open on the piano very well. The notation is crisp, easy to read and roomy with expression clearly marked. Most of the timing is very straight-forward and there are very few reaches of more than an octave. This book is truly a joy to play, and I give it my highest recommendation (along with the CD!). It is available from davidhicken.com and Amazon.

The song titles, what keys they are in, and the number of pages are:

The Bell Carol - key of E minor (1 sharp)/ B minor (2 sharps)/ A minor (0 sharps or flats) - 7 pages
In the Bleak Midwinter - key of F (1 flat)/ G (1 sharp) - 3 pages
What Child Is This? - We Three Kings - key of E minor/ A minor - 5 pages
Adeste Fideles / O Come All Ye Faithful - Key of G/ Ab (4 flats) - 5 pages
The Holly and the Ivy - key of G/Ab - 4 pages
Christmas In Tettenhall - key of E (4 sharps)/ F# (6 sharps) - 5 pages
Once in Royal David’s City - key of F/Gb (6 flats)/G - 4 pages
Silent Night - key of Bb (2 flats)/B (5 sharps) - 4 pages
The First Nowell - key of D (2 sharps)/E/G/A (3 sharps) - 4 pages
O Christmas Tree - key of G/ Ab - 4 pages
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - key of F/G - 5 pages
Away In a Manger - key of F/G - 3 pages
December 3, 2013
This songbook has been tagged as:
Holiday Songbooks
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