Wakeman, Rick - Christmas Variations

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Mascot
Catalog Number: M 7087 2
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:01:00

I know it's a bit late for this one, and I'm not even sure if this album fits the rest of the music featured here at PPO, but what the heck. As far as I know, this is the only Christmas album by a prog artist I know. Personally I don't care much for them. During the holidays all the radio stations are driving people crazy with the same old songs, every year the same (Band Aid, Wham, Mariah Carey and more of this commercial stuff) and you hear jingle bells everywhere you go.

In this case Wakeman did a good job by not using those elements in his Christmas album. There actually is nothing that makes you think it is Christmas music, with the exception of the song titles and the first track ("Silent Night," that melody is a bit of an obvious Christmas song). When you play the album, you hear beautiful piano arrangements, laced with soft synths and the album gave me more of a New Age impression or some relax music, rather than a Christmas album.

Here I'd like to quote a bit from the press release I got together with the album: "Carols were never meant to be just for Christmas, but neither was Jesus, but to many people that's the case. Carols were an original name for hymns related to special occasions in the Christian calendar ... Nobody knows for sure when this idea was dropped and carols became the sole responsibility of Christmas, but that is certainly the case in the 21st century. The same can be said of Jesus. To Christians He is part of everyday life. To many He is just for Christmas, and also for many, an excuse for Christmas."

A bit of an odd album, between all those progressive rock and metal albums [that appeared at PPO], but definitely not a bad one. It's just not my cup of tea. If it's yours, don't let me stop you from buying this album. At least this one will be nice to listen to the year round and not just during Christmas.

[This review originally appeared December 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Silent Night (4:35) / Hark The Herald Angels Sing (6:19) / Christians Awake Salute The Happy Morn (7:02) / Away In A Manger (5:28) / While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks By Night (5:33) / O Little Town Of Bethlehem (6:06) / It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (5:14) / Once In Royal David's City (4:58) / O Come All Ye Faithful (5:16) / Angels From The Realms Of Glory (4:27)

Rick Wakeman - Kurzweil K2500x, Korg Trinity Pro X, Korg 01W Pro x, Roland JD800, Korg X5DR, Korg Prophecy, Roland D70

Piano Vibrations (1971)
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII (1973)
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (1974)
Lisztomania (1975)
The Myths & Legends Of King Arthur & The Knights Of The Round Table (1975)
No Earthly Connection (1976)
Rick Wakeman's Criminal Record (1977)
White Rock (1977)
Animal Showdown (1979)
Rhapsodies (1979)
I'm So Straight I'm A Weirdo (1980)
1984 (1981)
The Burning (OST) (1981)
Rock N Roll Prophet (1982)
Cost Of Living (1983)
G'ole! (1983)
Crimes Of Passion (OST) (1984)
Live At Hammersmith (1985)
Lytton's Diary (1985)
Silent Nights (1985)
Country Airs (1986)
The Family Album (1987)
The Gospels (1987)
20th Anniversary Limited Edition (1988)
A Suite Of Gods (1988)
Custer's Last Stand/Ocean City (1988)
Time Machine (1988)
Zodiaque (1988)
Black Knights At The Court Of Ferdinand IV (1989)
Sea Airs (1989)
Phantom Power (1990)
In The Beginning (1990)
Night Airs (1990)
Phantom Power (1990)
2000AD Into The Future (1991)
African Bach (1991)
Aspirant Sunrise (1991)
Aspirant Sunset (1991)
Aspirant Sunshadows (1991)
Rock N Roll Prophet Plus (1991)
Softsword (1991)
The Classical Connection (1991)
Best Works Collection (1992)
Country Airs (1992)
Classic Tracks (1993)
No Expense Spared (1993)
Prayers (1993)
The Classical Connection 2 (1993)
The Heritage Suite (1993)
Unleashing The Tethered One - The 1974 North American Tour (1993)
Wakeman With Wakeman (1993)
Light Up The Sky (1994)
Live On The Test (1994)
Lure Of The Wild (1994)
Rick Wakeman's Greatest Hits (1994)
The Stage Collection (1994)
Wakeman With Wakeman - The Official Bootleg (1994)
Wakeman With Wakeman Live (1994)
Almost Live In Europe (1995)
Cirque Surreal (1995)
Rick Wakeman In Concert (1995)
Rock & Pop Legends (1995)
Romance Of The Victorian Age (1995)
The Piano Album (1995)
The Private Collection (1995)
The Seven Wonders Of The World (1995)
Visions (1995)
Can You Hear Me? (1996)
Fields Of Green (1996)
Orisons (1996)
Tapestries (1996)
The New Gospels (1996)
The Word And Music (1996)
Vignettes (1996)
Voyage (1996)
Welcome A Star (1996)
Fields Of Green '97 (1997)
Simply Acoustic - The Music (1997)
Tribute (1997)
Master Series (1998)
Themes (1998)
Official Live Bootleg (1999)
Return To The Centre Of The Earth (1999)
Stella Bianca Alla Corte De Re Ferdinando (1999)
The Masters (1999)
The Natural World Trilogy (1999)
White Rock II (1999)
Christmas Variations (2000)
Chronicles Of Man (2000)
Morning Has Broken (2000)
Preludes To A Century (2000)
Recollections - The Very Best Of Rick Wakeman (2000)
Rick Wakeman The Legend Live In Concert 2000 (2000)
The Caped Collection (2000)
Classical Variations (2001/2002)
Simply Acoustic (2001)
Out Of The Blue (2001)
Two Sides Of Yes (2001/2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 1 - The Real Lizstomania (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 2 - The Oscar Concert (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 3 - The Missing Half (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 4 - Almost Classical (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 5 - The Mixture (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 6 - Medium Rare (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 7 - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth (2002)
Treasure Chest Volume 8 - Stories (2002)
Two Sides Of Yes - Volume II (2002)
Wakeman & Cousins -Hummingbird (2002)
Out There (2003)
Retro (2006)
Retro 2 (2007)
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII Live At Hampton Court Palace (2009)
Always With You (2010)
Past, Present, and Future (2010)
Anderson/Wakeman - The Living Tree (2010)
In The Nick Of Time-Live In 2003 (2012)

Journey To The Center Of The Earth Live In 1975 (2001/2002) (DVD)
Rick Wakeman The Legend Live In Concert 2000 (DVD) (2001/2002)
Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble - Live In Buenos Aires (DVD) (2001/2002)
Rick Wakeman & The English Rock Ensemble - Out There (DVD) (2004)
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth Live In 1975 - 30th Anniversary Edition (DVD) (2005)
Made In Cuba (DVD) (2005)
Amazing Grace (DVD) (2007)
The Other Side Of Rick Wakeman (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 1 - 1975 Live At Empire Pool, King Arthur On Ice (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 2 - Live At The Maltings 1976 (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 3 - Live 1980 Swedish Television Special (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 4 - 1984 Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 1981 (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 5 - Night Music (DVD) (2007)
Video Vault Volume 6 - Rarities Plus Interview (DVD) (2007)
The Six Wives Of Henry VIII Live At Hampton Court Palace (DVD/BR) (2009)
Classical Wakeman Volume 1 - Live In Lugano (2010)

Genre: Other

Origin UK

Added: January 30th 2005
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website: www.rwcc.com
Hits: 444
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]