More Classical Christmas Piano Music

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Three years ago I wrote a post about Classical Christmas Piano Music, highlighting several different Christmas-themed classical pieces. I love the idea of having students play some really great actual classical piano literature for a holiday recital instead of (or in addition to) your usual piano arrangements of Christmas carols. Since then I have found some more excellent pieces that I’d love to share! Many of these I discovered in Jane Magrath’s Guide to Standard Teaching and Performance Literature. This list is a great resource for teachers of intermediate-level students, as all of these pieces are quite accessible for students of that level.

Merry Christmas!

 

Bartok – Romanian Christmas Carols

Twenty pieces in two sets of ten make up Bartok’s Romanian Christmas Carols. I love the gorgeous melodies of these pieces. These would be excellent for later intermediate students to play as a set. These feature changing meters all over the place, so a student with a strong sense of rhythm would be a good candidate for these pieces. For some more interesting background information on these pieces, read the description in the following YouTube video:

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Violet Archer – Habitat Sketches, Three Scenes: III. Christmas in Quebec

A brisk and fresh arrangement of Angels We Have Heard on High. Right and left hands take turns playing the melody while the other plays lively jingle bells-like accompaniment patterns.

Preview and purchase on musiccentre.ca

 

John Beckwith – Suite on Old Tunes: 3 Jingle Bells

This one-page arrangement of Jingle Bells is original, quick and challenging as hands continuously cross over each other in quick eighth note patterns. The result is a fun and fresh version of the familiar tune that is easily accessible and quick to learn for an intermediate student, yet impressive and fun for a recital.

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Norman Dello Joio – Diversions: 4. Chorale and 5. Giga

These two movements of this set are based on the Christmas song “Good Christian Men, Rejoice.” The Chorale is a simple, two-part (with a slightly thicker texture at the end) rendition of the well-known tune. The Giga is a lot of fun! It features parts of the tune set to 6/8 time in a lively and rollicking Baroque-like Giga, but with more modern harmonies. This 4-page Giga gets louder and louder and has a dramatic, showy ending. Wonderful for a recital!

 

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Carl Reinecke – Christmas Sonatina

This intermediate-level piece in three movements is written in classical sonatina style and features several different well-known Christmas themes, including a motive from J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Silent Night, “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come” from Geistliche Lieder, a theme from Handel’s Messiah (Every Valley Shall Be Exalted), and the Sicilian Hymn “O How Joyfully.” A wonderful teaching piece and great for a classical Christmas recital.

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William Gillock – Sleigh Bells in the Snow

A wonderful piece written in the key of E minor that portrays a brisk and rapid ride in a sleigh. It features lots of sixteenth-note runs played against a steady rhythm of accented staccato note clusters that sound like jingle bells. As the piece grows and intensifies in the middle there are some fun syncopated rhythms and big chords; it then gets softer and softer until the end as the sleigh drives off in the distance, but the tempo remains steady until the concluding pianississimo notes.

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Luis Gianneo – The Little Road to Bethlehem

A cute little rhythmic piece with a folk-like melody.

I have not been able to find the music for this one, but you can listen here.

 

Vladimir Rebikov – The Christmas Gift: Suite of 14 Pieces for Children

This is a set of elementary-level pieces for children; it includes some really great little teaching pieces that are a lot of fun to play. Movement 1, Gather Around the Christmas Tree is a beautiful little piece that captures the joy and excitement of Christmas. It features lots of small legato phrases in the right hand with descending staccato eighth notes in the left hand.

Movement 5, Russian Doll, is a cheerful, cute little piece that is excellent for practicing small legato phrases, as well as legato against staccato. It also has lots of graded dynamics.

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Several movements included in the book Classics Alive by Jane Magrath

 

Alexander Tansman – Pour les Enfants Set 3 No. 3: Noel

This gorgeous little piece features a beautiful, simple melody that is first played in the right hand and then the left.

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Alec Rowley – Sonatina Op. 40 No. 4: Winter

Alec Rowley’s opus 40 includes a sonatina for each of the seasons. The finale of the Winter sonatina is a fun combination of the melodies of The Mulberry Bush and The First Noel.

Don’t miss my other list of Classical Christmas Piano Music!

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Must-Have Christmas Piano Music

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Jennifer Boster

One Response to “More Classical Christmas Piano Music

  • Jenn Birge
    12 months ago

    I have the sheet music to Little Road to Bethlehem. It’s my college vocal teacher’s that she gave to me around Christmas time about 15 years ago. Now, one of my students is singing it at our Christmas Recital in a few weeks. 🙂