Christmas this year is almost upon us. It’s next Sunday. Once again it seems to have come around so quickly since last year, that it has sneaked up on me. Well, that’s how it often seems to people as they get older.
The featured image for this post is the CD cover of the new CD by Fiona Joy Hawkins called Christmas Joy. The album is about the Christmas season, and features some traditional carols, such as Jingle Bells. But her version, played on the 102 key Stuart & Sons grand piano, is unique. You can listen to it later down this post. For now, here is a short version of Flight of the Snowbird.
Here is the full piece, from the CD:
Flight of The Snowbird
In the next piece Fiona Joy Hawkins plays her own very Australian arrangement of Jingle Bells. It features two instruments made in Australia. The first is the Stuart & Sons piano. The second? No need to tell you what it is, as you’ll recognise it yourself. It fits with the Australian outback scenery in the video above.
Finally, the title song of the album. This piece shows off the spectacular sound of the Stuart & Sons piano
Part of the story is to tell you how I discovered this recording. Only 10 days ago on Saturday, 10th December, I received an email from Wayne Stuart, the piano maker. He mentioned three CDs in the email, of which Christmas Joy was one. He wrote:
2011 Grammy Nomination for Best Category in Composition Arrangement Engineering and Producer of the year
Fiona Joy Hawkin’s latest album “Christmas Joy” is a beautiful combination of music for the Christmas season. Co-produced with Grammy Award winner Corin Nelsen and acting production advisor Will Ackerman of Imaginary Road Recordings. Hawkins performs on a Stuart piano, backed by an impressive array of musicians and singers: Philip Aaberg, Will Ackerman, Heather Rankin, Charlie Bisharat, and Eugene Friesen. The eleven tracks include four originals and seven perennial Christmas favourites.
Coming back to Jingle Bells, apart from the piano and orchestration there is also something rather unusual about this arrangement of the carol. I’d be interested to learn whether you spotted it, and if so, whether you noticed it when you first played the song, or whether, like me, you enjoyed the music so much that you didn’t notice it until you’d heard it many times. To be honest, I only noticed it after publishing this post, while reviewing it online and listening very carefully.