After studying music in Weimar and performing countless times in theatres, clubs, piano bars and ballrooms, Michael Schäfer received a teaching assignment at the University of Music in Rostock, as well as the Schwerin Conservatory in the late nineties. Since 1998 he has taught a range of instruments and genres at the Lübeck Music School, including piano, guitar, double bass, electric bass, music theory/aural training, preparation for university, composition, song writing and band training. As a composer of many film, television and advertising pieces, he has also published some piano teaching books, which are the result of his work with children and young people returning to music.
With his book ‘Das große Weihnachtsliederbuch’, the author wants to introduce children (the book is suited to children between 6 and 14 years old) to playing the piano in a playful way. After the success of his book ‘240 Songs für Klavier’, which pulled together many well-known children’s songs, you will find in this book a collection of international, well-known Christmas songs. This comprehensive collection offers a wide range of pieces which makes it a great Christmas repertoire for the budding pianist.
Among the 195 songs, you will find songs about the shepherds, the three wise men, the nativity scene, Mary and carol singers, as well as advent songs and songs about the changing seasons. Secular and religious songs, old as well as new, complete the collection.
Just a few of these are: ‘Morgen Kinder, wird’s was geben’, ‘Morgen kommt der Weihnachtsmann’, ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘What child is this’ in the melody of the English piece ‘Greensleeves’ and ‘In einem kleinen Apfel’ to the Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Well known melodies and names can be found in this volume such as ‘Hark! The herald angels sing’ to a melody by Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, ‘Rejoice Greatly, oh daughter of Zion’ to a melody by George Frideric Handel and ‘From Hevaen above to Earth I come’ by Martin Luther. There are also pieces with the same melodies, but which are sung and played in different countries, for example “In dulci jubilo” and “Nun singet und seid froh” from the 14th century or “O santissimo” and “O du fröhliche, o du selige”, a Sicilian folk song.
The traditional Christmas songs come from countries including Sweden, France, Germany, Austria, Argentina, England, the USA, Finland, Poland, Greece, Italy, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Chile and Russia.
The lyrics are written in the songs’ original language, and there is a short summary in German of all the non-German pieces. There is also a short explanation about their origin and when they were written.
The CD contains 68 of the 195 songs in an accomplished and often infectiously happy reworking by Michael Schäfer. They give an impression of the large bandwidth of the chosen songs which leave the learner wanting more.