Album Title, Artist An Enchanted Noël, Dan Kennedy
Label Mt. Pollux Music (ASCAP)
Album Release Date 11.11.22
Genres Solo Piano, Classical Crossover, New Age
Featured Track “For Those Not Here,” original by Dan Kennedy
Radio Promotions LAZZ Promotions, Ontario, CANADA
Dan Kennedy’s Solo Piano Christmas Album Arrives
AN ENCHANTED NOËL Includes Tribute to the People We’re Missing
AMHERST, MA — November 11 will see the release of composer-pianist Dan Kennedy’s 7th album AN ENCHANTED NOËL to 120 radio stations and podcasts, to 32 streaming services including Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music. And for the nostalgic, to compact disc, available online and at concerts. This brand-new Christmas album is a potpourri of traditional classical, pop favorites, and two originals.
Composing music since the mid-1980s, Dan Kennedy has developed a distinctive voice in the Solo Piano field. “It’s been a very difficult couple of years for everybody in the world. So, I hope you enjoy the holidays this year, in whatever form they take for you – and enjoy your Christmas music as well.”
There are many aspects of this album that are emotionally loaded for Dan. It seemed important, after 2½ years of pandemic, to create an original Christmas tune for those persons not at home cutting trees, baking cookies, wrapping presents: hence the title “For Those Not Here.” About this piece, Kennedy adds, “The piece is an original composition which came to me the first night of recording, in my hotel room. At around midnight, the tune popped into my imagination, which is rare for me that I have a piece come to me so intact, key changes and all. The piece switches back and forth between A Major and F# Major, like an entity that moves back and forth between heaven and earth…an angel?” Or was the mystery spirit his mom Dorothy, a lover of Christmas music, who passed away in 2018, but who could have been her son’s inspiration?
Included on this album is a Solo Piano version of the dramatic “Carol of the Bells.” A much beloved song, it was originally written in 1916 by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych. “The mournful way I play this I dedicate to the many millions of hearts and souls of Ukraine during this trying time.” Interestingly, Kennedy notes, is that he had been playing this tune for years, long before he knew it was Ukrainian.
The “Holiday Medley” is another piece Kennedy has been developing over the last couple of decades. Three pieces are threaded together, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” a classic, traditional; “The Little Drummer Boy,” an American pop tune; and “What Child Is This,” an ancient Christmastime parallel to its Springtime counterpart “Greensleeves.” Since Dan had improvised the work so many, many times, the medley was very challenging for him to pin it down to just one version. “I’m pretty happy with this version, and Bill [engineer Bill Ahearn] got me really good sound at the studio when we recorded in June of 2022 in Hartford, CT.”
“For Unto Us a Child is Born” is a unique arrangement, fusing the classical with the contemporary. “It’s not every day I decide to arrange Händel. It’s also weird for me because Händel’s version, from the Messiah, is really so perfect to begin with. But it’s such a tuneful and gorgeous song that I just ran with it, taking huge liberties, such as adding a whole new ‘B’ part to it. Folks will enjoy this one.”
“Sussex Carol” is an ancient traditional song of England. Says Kennedy, “This is one of my newest arrangements. It’s a light and fast tune, a little jazzy, and it was quite spicy for me during rehearsals [laughs]! But I can’t wait to play this song live, I haven’t done that yet.” He’ll get his opportunity to play it at the CD Release Concert in Beverly, Massachusetts, December 10.
“Of Snow and Stars” was a completely improvised piece made up on the spot. “We just rolled tape. On Take 2 I actually went start-to-finish on the whole tune, and we kept it.” On the emotion in the room Dan continues, “I could just feel the snow and the stars glistening together, and this piece has a fresh, contemplative sound that I just love.”
Contemporary Solo Pianist Dan Kennedy has performed in 21 U.S. states, and Québec province. Since his 2007 debut EP LANTERN was released, Kennedy has received play on 250 radio stations, and over 500,000 internet spins. Winner of a 2022 Global Music Award, plus the 2019 Enlightened Piano Radio Album of the Year, his recordings have spent as many as 7 consecutive months on the ZMR Top 100. With a style sometimes described as Classical Crossover, Dan approaches his compositions with a conservatory-trained formal sensibility, and along the way overlays sparkling melodies and flashes of unexpected improvisation. Dan and his wife Rachel reside in an 1860 farmhouse in rural Massachusetts where they look after 8 chickens, 6 ducks, 2 goats, 2 cats, and 1 Newfoundland dog. Yes, and 1 partridge in a pear tree.
AN ENCHANTED NOËL can be purchased at https://www.dankennedy.us/store.
Dan Kennedy & Friends will be performing a live Christmas piano show and CD Release Concert at 7:30 pm, Saturday, December 10, 2022 at the First Parish Church, 225 Cabot St., Beverly, MA. Tickets (available only at the door) are $20 per person; Under 18 cost $10 each. ∆∆∆