Becky Archibald's new CD, The Christmas One, is an easy baker's dozen listening menu. The album will be released at a concert Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m. at the Indiana History Center Basile Theater, 450 W. Ohio St. "I have spent the past few Decembers quietly writing piano arrangements of favorite Christmas tunes," Archibald comments. The operative word is "quiet."
"So much of the text of these classic songs reflect the quiet of a special night long ago ... I hope this music helps you slow down, grow quiet, think, meditate, smile and even laugh during the coming Christmas seasons," Archibald adds.
Archibald sat down at the piano over the past six years, let her fingers wander and what came out is an eclectic mix of styles that asks a listener to rethink the music sans text. "Jingle Bells" is appropriately jingly - even a bit jaunty. The blues inhabits "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." Expectation hovers over "O Little Town of Bethlehem" while an edginess drives "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear."
"Silent Night" shimmers, a luster of light ebbing and flowing. Activity and introspection balance "Deck the Halls." Most innovative is the French carol "Il est ne, le divin Enfant." Listen carefully or you'll miss the transitions. "What Child is This?" asks us to think about all children - how they are born, how they are treated. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" is the most technical piece. Its layers intrigue. "We Three Kings" takes us traveling. "I Wonder as I Wander" is an inner journey - deep, deep into our reason for existing. "The Christmas Song" is a gigantic gift untying itself to reveal the meanings you desire. And, as in vaudeville, "Always leave 'em laughing when you say good-bye." That's the joy in "Happy Holiday Rag."