An abundance of recordings of holiday music offers great examples of this. For example, according to Wikipedia, "Silent Night", composed in 1818 by Austrian Franz Gruber, is "the world's most recorded Christmas song, with more than 137,000 known recordings". And each one required its own arrangement. That's a lot of arrangements of one song!
Among those 137,000 known recordings are two that I had the privilege of making for North Star Records, one with CommonGround and one with The North Star Jazz Ensemble.
Pianist Ron Fournier wrote the arrangement of Silent Night for CommonGround's 1997 album "Do You Hear What I Hear?". His arrangement includes a solo guitar introduction and lovely interludes he composed for between the verses and before the ending.
I wrote the North Star Jazz Ensemble arrangement for the 2002 album "Mistletoe Sax". Taking my inspiration from French composer Erik Satie I included part of his "Gymnopédie No. 1" which serves as bookends to the arrangement and sets the overall tone. I composed some music for the middle of the recording to feature a bass solo by Marty Ballou. That section then leads into traded solos by Ron Fournier on piano and myself on soprano saxophone. Eventually we find our way back home to the original theme, finally leading back to and wrapping up with Satie's Gymnopédie.
I hope you will enjoy our arrangements of "Silent Night" and all the songs on both these albums.
Happy Holidays one and all!
Streaming on all platforms. Click the images below to listen to the arrangements of Silent Night on YouTube.
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