Sunday, October 17, 2010

CD Review – Christmas for Two, by Lisa Downing

At the ambidextrous hands of Lisa Downing, Christmas music isn’t just for Christmas anymore.

Christmas for Two is pianist Downing’s interpretation of several holiday standards. And by interpretation, I really mean interpretation. This is not a tired regurgitation of seasonal songs that everyone has heard millions of times over. Rather, Downing really interprets the songs, using them as jumping off points for new musical directions and really making them her own.

The result is an album whose appeal extends far beyond the yuletide. In fact, Christmas for Two can be listened to from two perspectives. On one level, the CD can be enjoyed as a collection of classic Christmas tunes with a musical twist. On another level, the album can be enjoyed simply as an album of beautiful piano arrangements that happen to reference familiar holiday themes.

The best thing about Christmas for Two is that it provides a great listening experience all year round, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. That is the mark of true artistry, especially as exhibited by Downing on this release. It’s also appropriate that a Christmas album be listenable anytime, because when you really think about it, the ideals and themes behind Christmas are about extolling them continually, regardless of the season.

Consider giving the gift of music with Christmas for Two, for Christmas or any occasion.

--Raj Manoharan

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