Calling upon angels
In this solo Christmas album, rated four stars in a WNUA ranking of all Christmas albums ever produced, I combine my signature Freeflow style (see Touched by the Sea and Postcard from Cape Cod) with traditional, all-time favorite Christmas melodies. The result is a unique collection of beautiful arrangements that can be listened to all year round. This is exactly one-half of the music found on the double album, Spirit Within.
“Calling Upon Angels” is a rather unusual collection of Christmas pieces in that the songs are all interpreted in Silvard’s “freeflow” (spontaneous) method of composing and arranging in the recording studio, making most of the songs almost unrecognizable except for some well-chosen phrases here and there to show which song he is recreating. All of the pieces are solo piano, and the album is really very beautiful. I enjoy hearing unusual arrangements of Christmas music since I hear so much of it both in reviewing CDs and in teaching piano. I found it very interesting that even though the familiar melodies don’t always appear until the middle or even later in the songs, I could usually tell by tone and, I suppose, chord changes and rhythms which songs I was hearing. When the melodies revealed themselves, it often made me smile to find out I was right.
The tone of the album is very peaceful and optimistic, and the songs all have a beautiful flow to them. A few of the titles are “The First Noel,” “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” “Silver Bells,” and an especially lovely “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.” I had never heard “The Simple Birth” or “Mary's Little Boy Child,” so those two kept me guessing. Also included is Silvard’s own “Calling Upon Angels,” which is elegant and warm. I’m sure that there will be folks who don’t like that they can’t sing along with this album, but that’s a lot of what made it so charming for me. The songs are familiar enough to be cozy and traditional, but different enough to stand up to many listens even when you’re getting tired of Christmas music. I really like this one!"
Kathy Parsons, Solo Piano Publications, December 2003