I have discovered a real wealth of great solo piano Christmas CDs this year! Isadar's "In Search For the Meaning of Christmas" definitely falls into this category! Thoughtful, introspective, and a bit moody, Isadar's arrangements are true to the carols (with some small melody changes in "Bring a Torch" and "Carol of the Bells" that bother me just a little) and still seem very personal. "Bring a Torch", "The Holly and the Ivy", and "I Saw Three Ships" are given a lighthearted, joyful treatment. "Star of Wonder (We Three Kings)", "What Child Is This?", "The Coventry Carol", and "Sing We Now of Christmas" are all minor, somber, reverent pieces, and all four are given loving arrangements that keep the dark, mysterious nature of the songs and reflect Isadar's own sensibilities. "Carol of the Bells" and Liz Story's arrangement of "Greensleeves" are energetic without losing all abandon. "Silent Night" and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" present us with a very cold, deep solitude - both feel like late night with moonlight reflecting off the snow. Both are moody, but very beautifully so. George Winston's "December" is one of my all-time favorite holiday albums, and I feel "In Search For the Meaning of Christmas" holds up exceptionally well next to it. This is an excellent collection of Christmas music, and I highly recommend it!
Kathy Parsons, MainlyPiano.com
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