Title - 'Christmas Variations'
Artist - Rick Wakeman
For those not in the know, the King Of The Keyboards and Prog Rock icon, Rick Wakeman, reinvents Christmas on this brand new, and wholly fantastic instrumental album that will make your holidays an otherworldly experience!
Entitled Christmas Variations (and out now via Purple Pyramid / Cleopatra Records), it includes unique arrangements of traditional holiday favorites such as 'Silent Night,' 'Away In A Manger,' 'It Came Upon A Midnight Clear' and many more PLUS two bonus tracks; one an original composition 'Silent Prayer.'
1. 'Silent Night'
2. 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing'
3. 'Christians Awake Salute The Happy Morn'
4. 'Away in a Manger'
5. 'While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night'
6. 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'
7. 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear'
8. 'Once In Royal David’s City'
9. 'O Come All Ye Faithful'
10. 'Angels from the Realm of Glory'
11. 'Silent Prayer' [BONUS TRACK]
12. 'Amazing Grace' [BONUS TRACK]
The first ten tracks on this CD (which are obviously the album's original track-listing) are all traditional Christmas songs, whilst the first bonus track, 'Silent Prayer,' is a Rick composition, and the second bonus track is the traditional "Amazing Grace' (maybe not strictly a Christmas song, but it fits).
However, having delved into the liner notes here, the bonus tracks were not recorded during the same period as the album (which was recorded in 2000) as the first one was recorded in '93, and the second in '18.
That all said, and even without the liner notes, it's clear from the song selection here that Rick prefers to keep Christ in CHRISTmas, which is a trait that I admire in anyone.
Personally, I love music played on keyboards and so I genuinely love each and every performance here - including the bonus tracks as they all sound just so beautiful.
And whilst the traditional songs are mostly recognizable (or pretty much so) as the songs they're supposed to be, they manage, for the most part, to still be orchestrated in a manner that allow Rick's personal touch to flow through (although, admittedly, 'Silent Prayer' has a different sort of atmosphere than the other tracks).
Christmas Variations is available as a digipak CD and in a special limited edition double LP of colored vinyl in a gatefold jacket!
Official Purchase Link