CD Review – A STEINWAY CHRISTMAS ALBUM ★★★★

sean-martinfield-18-august-2011
Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Hands down! Pianist Jeffrey Biegel has the finest Christmas recording of 2012. A Steinway Christmas Album is a glamorous collection of traditional classics and standards, along with beautiful arrangements of more recent entries into the Winter canon of musical favorites. Its 21 tracks were recorded in the Concert Hall of the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, State University of New York. Biegel plays on the Steinway Model D, with multiple Grammy Award winner Steve Epstein as producer and engineer. The album is Concert Hall worthy, a classy addition to any round of Holiday gatherings, and a warm and friendly companion to cozy up with in the bleak midwinter.
Click here to order on-line: A Steinway Christmas Album

jeffrey-biegel
JEFFREY BIEGEL

There are selections to accompany every mood and every illusive spirit the Season has to offer, beginning with Sleigh Ride (arranged by Andrew Gentile). Taking the reins on this popular musical illustration from Leroy Anderson, by the final whinnies of the jingle horse – a shimmering flurry of notes in the upper register of the keyboard – Jeffrey Biegel fascinates the imagination through an E-Ride of dazzling technique. Biegel demonstrates his versatility through a wide variety of musical styles and lush arrangements. The international favorites include Svyatki’s Fêtes de Noël, three selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and “December” from The Seasons, and the haunting waltz, Yolka, by Vladimir Rebikov. Donald Sosin’s arrangement of Hark The Herald Angels Sing “in the style of Beethoven”, is likewise rich with mood and story. Sosin, a most welcome accompanist at San Francisco’s annual Silent Film Festival, has taken this usually over-boisterous carol with too many verses and extracted a complete scenario sweetened with tender opportunities. Again, Biegel’s rendition is dramatically nuanced and heartfelt.

The album is highlighted by Jeffrey Biegel’s own arrangements – including Ann Hampton Callaway’s Christmas Lullaby, David Foster’s Grown-up Christmas List, and Mel Torme’s evergreen Christmas Song. Also featured is Gregory Sullivan Isaacs’ piano solo, Quiet Night, written for Jeffrey Biegel. Frank Luther’s Christmas Is A Comin’ (and the geese are gettin’ fat) will have you coming back for more and more.

Watch Jeffrey Biegel perform Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride”:

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