Review Blog

Dec 20 2016

Christmas songbook by Sam Taplin

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Ill. by Richard Johnson. Usborne, 2016. ISBN 9781474921244
In certain countries and to certain generations, the images of carol singers going door to door at this time of the year sharing their music is not far from the mind. More recently, the school-based Carols by Candlelight was always a sign that the festive season was here as neighbourhoods joined together to herald this fun time in song, sentiment and a sausage sizzle. Classes practised those traditional songs in preparation for the annual Christmas concert and there were few who did not know all the verses of 'Away in a manger' and 'Silent night'.
So to find a new illustrated volume of these well-known tunes arranged for voice, piano and guitar is a delight as yet a new Christmas season is here and another generation needs to know the music that binds this time. Some are very familiar, others not so, but each is presented on a clear double page spread with all the verses and music as well as an illustration that makes this more than just a book of sheet music. Even the extra original verses of 'Jingle bells' - nothing to do with Batman or even a rusty Holden ute - are there right alongside 'I saw three ships', the first song my sea-loving grandfather ever taught me!
Vision Australia's Carols by Candlelight at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl remains one of the most watched television broadcasts on Christmas Eve - how wonderful if our children could fully participate because the tunes are familiar and the words are known!
A perfect addition to both your private and professional collection.
Barbara Braxton

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