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 female 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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