Igor Plitsyn, piano

00:00   O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

03:33   The First Noel

06:55   What Child Is This?

10:31   Away in a Manger

15:10   Silent Night

17:47   Angels We Have Heard on High

Program notes by the composer:

Composed in November 2011, Christmas Suite is Plitsyn’s reflection on six Christmas carols selected and arranged in sequence with respect to their musical qualities, as well as the implied narrative: (1) yearning for Messiah (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel), (2) proclamation of His birth (The First Noel), (3) pondering the nature of the newborn (What Child Is This?), (4) slumber of Holy Babe (Away in the Manger, Silent Night), (5) celestial celebration of Christmas (Angels We Have Heard on High).

The music integrates paraphrased melodies of the carols with the composer’s original material. Each part of Suite begins with a brief chant-like introduction–variation on the corresponding carol’s melody–echoed later on. Following the introduction, the melody is treated polyphonically in a variety of canonic techniques. The counterpoint, however, does not overwhelm the composition. It remains light in texture, clear in intention, and, the composer hopes, inviting to contemplate the source of its inspiration.