Best-selling pianist and composer David Lanz has teamed with vocalist Kristin Amarie for an album of mostly original holiday music, Forever Christmas. Fans of the Grammy-nominated instrumentalist Lanz will immediately recognize the soul-soothing beauty of his piano work. The album marks the first full-length album collaboration between he and Amarie, who adds her precise melodic phrasing throughout.
Two classic carols are given sensitive readings, each chosen as a dedication to very special people in the artists’ lives. According to the press notes, “Oh Holy Night” is for Amarie’s mother, while “Silent Night” is for Lanz’s mother. The multi-lingual Amarie sings part of the latter in the original German. Another track, “A Thousand Lights (Nu Tändas Tusen Juleljus),” was originally written in Swedish (as the parenthetical portion of the title might suggest), but here it is performed by Amarie in English.
Deliberately choosing to focus on Christmas as more of a spiritual state of mind, the music is meditative and calming. As Kristin explains in the press notes, “Christmas has become so commercialized. That’s why in one of the lyrics we ask, ‘What is Christmas?’ At the very end the answer is peace within. That’s what the real message is supposed to be.” That message is also conveyed by Lanz’s original poem, “Winter Light Fades,” not set to music but printed in the CD digipak.
The results are consistently melodic, resulting in an album that will surely find a welcome spot in many listeners’ holiday music rotation this season. The warmly celebratory lyrics of “Sweet Winter Love” and the title track are easily standout moments. Lanz’s piano is joined in places by a variety of guest musicians including Keith Lowe (bass), Nancy Rumbel (woodwinds), Walter Gray (cello), and the guitars of Eric Tingstad, Alonzo Davideo, and Gary Lanz (David’s brother, who also served as the album’s producer and engineer).
Lanz and Amarie have several performances planned to celebrate the holiday season:
November 28 – Historic Everett Theatre – Everett, Washington
November 29 – Kirkland Performance Center – Kirkland, Washington
December 5 – Covey Center – Provo, Utah
December 7 – Colorado Mesa University Recital Hall – Grand Junction, Colorado
December 9 – International Music Syndicate – Colorado Springs, Colorado
December 12 – Firehouse Theatre – Pleasanton, California
December 13 – Train House Concert – Redwood, California