I returned yesterday from a visit to Cape Cod, having had to stay an extra day since we were experiencing a minor hurricane there with 50 mile hour winds, rain and SNOW….a rather unusually early weather event as we begin to move into the winter season on the calendar..
I did get home yesterday mid-day, in time to meet a student for her weekly piano lesson rescheduled a day late and at 4 pm in the afternoon, giving me time to unpack.
It is always good to see Susan and share our time together at the piano making music. There she was in the doorway with her usual smile..AND a of little bag of green Italian cooking peppers, the last from her garden, picked just last night because of a predicted first frost..
She also had her music folder and two Christmas Carols that she was so eager to start working on. One “The Ukranian Bell Carol” and the other, a copy of a holiday season song she had once played and loved when she was a teenager (she is almost 60 now): “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”.
The last of the garden peppers in one hand, a copy of Winter Wonderland in the other. The crossroads of the seasons.
I often lament the commercial push for Christmas in the stores now simultaneously displayed alongside Halloween, with Thanksgiving paper plates and napkins and plastic turkey table decorations squished in between. But when it comes to Christmas Carols, we do have to start bringing out the repertoire at this time because the season is so short and the music so lovely, historical and full of special memories..we need a good six weeks or so to enjoy them and add some new material.
I have an electronic keyboard as well as the piano, but it only gets set up during the month of December to use the pipe organ and choir settings for our Christmas Carol Duets, it sounding like Chartres Cathedral in my little studio space. We love it…and for that we do the “baby duets” in the Alfred’s Christmas Series which are truly baby but easy with lovely arrangements for 4-hands at the piano…even my more advanced accomplished piano students love to do these just for fun because they sound so wonderful with the pipe organ and choir settings…kind of a tradition to do these while working on way more difficult pieces appropriate to their levels. I particularly enjoy he Christmas series by the FJH composers/publishers.
I myself am working on quite a challenging Christmas piece right now… The Ukranian Bell Carol arrangement by Jarrod Radnich… very beautiful and different and true to his compositional style…complex and rich…and challenging… none of my students at this time are ready for that one! (music can be ordered from musicnotes.com: http://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtdFPE.asp?ppn=MN0126960& )
So here we are at the crossroads between seasons… the dwindling warmth of the Autumn harvest and the too sudden surprise of winter’s cold. Garden Peppers and Christmas Carols on the same day, November 3.
and btw: cooked those garden peppers with onions and garlic, eaten over pasta last night. And turned up the heat here to take the chill off the room too.
From Christine, The Piano Mistress
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