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Songbook Review: Christmas - Plain & Simple II
Michele McLaughlin
Cover image of the songbook Christmas - Plain & Simple II by Michele McLaughlin
Christmas - Plain & Simple II
Michele McLaughlin
2010 / Michele McLaughlin
15 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Michele McLaughlin’s Christmas - Plain & Simple II is one of my all-time favorite Christmas CDs, so I was overjoyed to discover that she has a sheet music collection of all fifteen of the songs on the album, beautifully and expertly transcribed by Rebecca Oswald. This collection will appeal to pianists of an intermediate level up through advanced because although the songs are not overly difficult, they are full-sounding and fun to play. Most are written in easy key signatures, and there are not a lot of big chords or strenuous reaches. Some of the pieces have improvisations written into them, and those are also a joy to play. McLaughlin’s arrangements are traditional yet fresh and new. In other words, you won’t have any trouble finding the melodies or “getting” the timing. Oswald’s transcriptions are always clear, clean and roomy, making them easy to read and not intimidating. I thoroughly enjoy playing all fifteen songs, making this one of my all-time favorite Christmas songbooks. I recommend it very highly! It is available from michelemclaughlin.com.

The contents of the book are listed below in the same order that the songs appear on the CD. I’ve included a difficulty ranking with 1 being the easiest of McLaughlin’s pieces and 5 the most advanced. I have also indicated what key the pieces are in and how many sharps or flats there are in the key signatures.

O Christmas Tree - Key of C (no sharps or flats) Level 3 4 pages
O Come Emmanuel - Key of A minor (no sharps or flats) Level 3 3 pages
Little Drummer Boy - Key of Gb (6 flats) Level 4 6 pages
Christmas Cheer - Key of C Level 3 3 pages
Coventry Carol - Key of A Minor Level 2 2 pages
Deck the Halls - Key of C Level 3 4 pages
Midwinter Memories - Key of D Minor (1 flat) Level 4 7 pages
O Little Town of Bethlehem - Key of C Level 3 3 pages
Carol of the Bells - Key of C Minor ( 3 flats) Level 4 4 pages
Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella - Key of C Level 2 3 pages
I Saw Three Ships / Pat-a-pan - Key of A Minor Level 3 4 pages
Did Santa Come? - Key of C Level 3 3 pages
Melancholy Snowfall - Key of A Minor Level 4 4 pages
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear - Level 3 5 pages
The Littlest Snow Angel - Key of A Minor Level 3 4 pages
December 16, 2010
This songbook has been tagged as:
Holiday Songbooks
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