December by George Winston

Windham Hills Records, 1982

Dug up at Amoeba sidewalk sale

Track list, faves in bold

A1. Thanksgiving
A2. Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head
A3. Joy
A4. Prelude
A5. Carol of the Bells
A6. Night
B1. Variations on the Kanon by Johann Pachelbel
B2. The Holy and the Ivy
B3. Some Children See Him
B4. Peace

December is a solo record from George Winston, an American pianist who has recorded several other seasonal LPs. The tracks are usually in the public domain, and this winter edition is the perfect soothing Christmas record that sounds like what opening gifts on a snowy morn feels like. I’ve mentioned the endearing (read: poor) audio quality that my record player produces, and it is heavily noticeable on Winston’s solo piano recordings, but I still find it equally as beautiful. Despite having heard them countless times in my life, each song sounds like something new, and has an almost experimental quality to it. I love when music surprises me, and luckily, my sad record player delivers that every time.

One of my favorites on December is the track “Night,” which is told in three parts: Snow, Midnight, and Minstrels. It is very beautiful with a resounding bass note that grounds the story like the score of a movie. In fact, it reminds me immensely of the score from one of my favorite movies, The Princess and the Warrior. There is a scene when the protagonist intervenes on a bank robbery, but her movements are
so purposeful, so deliberate, that the steady twinkling piano of the score gives the scene an unforgettable intensity.

I am not ready for the holiday season yet, but this record is beautiful year round. I hope that my crate digging leads me to find Winston’s Summer LP, because that would be too perfect of a counterpoint. Fingers crossed!

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