Pick your Christmas music, secular or sacred. The former probably gets more attention. "White Christmas," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," and, of course, Chuck Berry rock'n "Run Run Rudolph." Earth-bound seasonal sounds that bring out the holiday spirit.
But sometimes it seems the more sacred side of that equation gets sold short.
Melbourne, Australia-based pianist Tim Stevens grew up with the Anglican Church as an essential part of his life. No small part of it was the music he met there. It's been said that the hymn book can always be heard in Stevens' work, whether it be his piano solo outings or his piano trio work. A spin of his previous 2017 disc, Meta Vita confirms this. Solo piano, maybe more than any other format, seems out bring out an artist's soul.
I'll Tell You Later In December: Christmas Music and Improvisation For Solo Piano is Tim Stevens' contribution to to the Christmas sounds category, sacred style.
A master improviser with virtuosic technique, Stevens takes some small libertiesimprovisational forays and introductionsto some of the most beautiful traditional and classical Christmas sounds. Pieces include reverent reimaginations of compositions by J.S. Bach, Olivier Messiaen, Gustav Holst and more. On paper it sounds weighty; on record it sounds gossamer-light, solemn, searching, and divinely beautiful.
There's nothing wrong with Rudolph and Santa Claus, with dashing through snow or chestnuts roasting on open fires, but there's also room for the inward and deeply spiritual, purely lovely, sacred side of Christmas sounds, that type that Tim Stevens offers up with I'll Tell You Later In December.
Procession: Of the father's heart begotten; Stellar: Wie schön leuchtet der
Morgenstern; Little One: O Jesulein süss, O Jesulein mild; Forty: Bethlehem Down,
When to the temple Mary went; Cheerful Noise: Personent Hodie; Following: Les
Mages, Videntes Stellam; Postlude: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland.