Lanier's Peaceful December
Bruce Von Stiers
In the past I have reviewed the albums, A Thousand Years and Open Spaces. They were both from pianist Stanton Lanier. Not only did I enjoy them, my father in-law enjoyed them too. So much so, that I gave him my copies of the albums.
Stanton has recorded a few other albums. One such album is December Peace. It is full of traditional Christian holiday songs and some original compositions. The album was first released in 2009 by Music To Light The World.
There are fifteen songs on December Peace. It has a play time of sixty-nine minutes. The album was produced by Will Ackerman, whom some of you might remember from his Windam Hill days. The recording, mixing and mastering was done by Corin Nelsen, who received a Grammy in 2004 for an album he did with Will Ackerman. All of the arrangements on the album were done by Stanton.
Even though this album is mostly Stanton's piano playing, he added some other folks on some of the songs. Jeff Oster played the flugelhorn and Jill Haley was on the French horn. There was some cello music done by Eugene Friesen. And the album featured vocals by Noah Wilding. Will Ackerman plays the Hopi drum.
For the first song on the album, Stanton selected Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. It is a beautiful song that provides Stanton a chance to spotlight his talent.
Another classic tune, Away In A Manger, is the second song. It has a slightly more melodic intro than I've heard on most instrumentals of this song. From the intro Stanton moves into the traditional mode of the song with a bit extra added in. It is the best instrumental version that I have ever heard of the song.
In The Bleak Midwinter is a song that is often included on holiday albums. Stanton does a wonderful job on the song. He is accompanied by some beautiful French horn music.
Angels We Have Heard On High is one of my favorite Christmas songs. On this rendition, Stanton is accompanied by cello music. Both the piano and cello make this great song even more terrific.
Stanton brings an almost haunting intro to O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The remainder of the song is gentle.
Shepherds and Stars is an original composition by Stanton. It is a melodic tune that features flugelhorn, Hopi drum and a small portion of vocals.
Moving back to a traditional mode, Stanton does a solo rendition of the classic Silent Night.
Stanton featured the song Thanksgiving on his album Walk In The Light. He included the song here. It is a great piece that features terrific French horn. Pretty much all of Stanton's compositions are based in Scripture. This song is based on Philippians 4:6 about not being anxious but give everything to God with Thanksgiving.
Coventry Carol is treated to a solo piano rendition on the album.
Awaken the Dawn is a beautiful original composition. Featuring the hopi drum, French horn, English horn and vocals, the song was first on Stanton's 2008 album, Unveiled. It is based on Psalms 108: 1-2.
Lo,How a Rose E'er Blooming is often sung in church services. Stanton has a nice solo piano rendition of the song on this album.
Cello music accompanies Stanton's piano on the pleasant original composition, Snow Angel.
The final traditional song on the album is Little Drummer Boy. Not only does Stanton do a great job with the piano, he is accompanied by some wonderful flugelhorn music.
The fourteenth song on the album is called Silence. It is a terrific original piano solo piece that was on Stanton's 2008 album, Still Waters. It is based on a scripture from Habakkuk about all of the earth becoming silent before God.
The final song on the album is from The Voice, the 2008 album from Stanton. The title of the song is Peace and is serene and terrific with piano and beautiful choral vocals.
Most Christmas and holiday albums feature vocalists. December Peace breaks away from that mode in that the album is pretty much instrumental. The vocals, horns, drum and vocals all serve to provide superb accompaniment to an excellent pianist.
December Peace is available on amazon.com, at CD Baby and other retailers.
Look to Stanton's official site for additional information about the album or others he has recorded. That site it http://www.stantonlanier.com/
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© 2015 Bruce E Von Stiers