Archive for November, 2016

Joy to the World

“Joy to the World” is the most-published Christmas hymn in North America. First published in 1719, the words are by English hymn writer Isaac Watts. While the music is frequently attributed to George Frederic Handel, there is no autographed score by Handel and no currently known documentary evidence to suggest that Handel actually wrote it.

I have given it a surf-rock setting.

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November 29, 2016 at 5:51 pm Leave a comment

O Holy Night

“O Holy Night” was composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau. It has proven very popular over the years with tenors and other singers who like to strain their vocal chords — the range of the melody is two octaves. My version, as usual, is non-traditional but does try to preserve the beauty of the original concept.

November 27, 2016 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

Go Tell It on the Mountain

“Go Tell It on the Mountain” is an African-American spiritual song, dating back to at least 1865, that has been sung and recorded by many gospel and secular performers. It is considered a Christmas carol because its original lyrics celebrate the Nativity of Jesus.

Given its Gospel music roots, turning it into an R&B/Rock-n-roll number is a pretty small step.

November 25, 2016 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Over the River and Through the Wood

“Over the River and Through the Wood”, is a Thanksgiving poem by Lydia Maria Child, originally published in 1844. The poem was later set to a music by an unknown composer. My arrangement begins with a baritone guitar riff and rocks on from there.

November 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

Little Princess

“Little Princess” was originally the “B” side to “Genie with the Light Brown Lamp”, a top 20 hit in England for the Shadows in 1964.

The song is from a live musical comedy entitled “Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp” that was performed at the London Palladium in 1964 starring  Cliff Richard and the Shadows with their producer/composer/arranger Norrie Paramor as musical director. There was also a sound track album.

In England, this type of stage play is called a “Pantomime” — a theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, that involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and is based on a fairy tale or nursery story, usually produced around Christmas.

My version is essentially a cover of the original, although I did condense the guitar parts a bit.

November 22, 2016 at 2:44 pm Leave a comment

Still, Still, Still

“Still, still, still” is an Austrian Christmas carol and lullaby. The melody is a folk tune from the State of Salzburg. The tune appeared for the first time in 1865. The words, which run to six verses in German, describe the peace of the infant Jesus and his mother as the baby is sung to sleep.

My arrangement has a Latin feel and a vibe intended to invoke a sense of the great English instrumental band the Shadows.

November 21, 2016 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

He is Born in the Midnight Hour

“He is Born” is the English translation of “Il est né, le divin Enfant”, a traditional French Christmas carol, which was published for the first time in 1862. As with all of my instrumental guitar/rock holiday tracks, the arrangement of this traditional carol is not at all traditional.

November 20, 2016 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

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