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A Steinway Christmas Album

Jeffrey Biegel

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Album Review

This modest disc of Christmas music from Steinway is meant to be purchased physically, although it is also available digitally. It comes packaged with an ornament, a miniature version of the Steinway lyre emblem that is gilded on each of the company's pianos. However, the music is something that should appeal to fans of Steinways who also enjoy Christmas music. Jeffrey Biegel is an ideal pianist for this project and represents Steinway and its instruments well. He is primarily a classical artist, but here proves he can play with equal musicality and charm in many different styles. On the opening track, arranger Andrew Gentile gives Sleighride ragtime and Gershwin-esque embellishments, a welcomed, refreshing refit of a work that's become something of a cliché. The arrangements of Silent Night, Christmas Lullaby, Grown-Up Christmas List, and Auld Lang Syne represent a smooth, piano jazz-style of performance. Christmas Is A-Comin' also begins that way, but halfway through turns into an animated stride version. For the more classically oriented, there are straight up works by Franz Liszt, Max Reger, Vladimir Rebikov, and Sergey Lyapunov, plus excerpts from the Nutcracker that lose none of their appeal in the piano transcription under Biegel's hands. There are also pieces that mix it up a little. The arrangements by Carolyne M. Taylor (whom Biegel has recorded previously) combine well-loved Christmas melodies with classical pieces. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing is a brief set of variations in the style of Beethoven. Fans who like only particular styles of piano playing may prefer to pick and choose their tracks, but fans of Steinway shouldn't be disappointed to get the entire package. ~Patsy Morita, Rovi

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