Multiple Grammy and Academy Award-nominated composer, songwriter and producer Stephan Moccio provides festive moments of calmness and solace in his first Christmas album, Winter Poems, writes Nick Benson.
This year has been incredibly difficult for us all and now with Christmas looking like it’ll also be quite different to ones of yesteryear, songwriter and composer Stephan Moccio reminds us that celebrations need not be loud and excessive.
His brand-new instrumental Christmas album, Winter Poems, strips some of the best known Christmas songs, hymns and carols down to their raw form, as hauntingly beautiful piano arrangements.
The album features Moccio’s take on such well-known Christmas tracks such as The Little Drummer Boy; Walking In The Air; Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas; and White Christmas, as well as carols and hymns, including O Holy Night; O Come, All Ye Faithful; What Child Is This; and Carol of the Bells.
“My intention with this instrumental music, is that these poems and hymns will transcend cultures,” said Moccio. “These timeless melodies are like wordless poems, told with simply one instrument, my piano. My hope is to have every listener feel like I am playing to them solely.”
Winter Poems builds on the composer’s piano album, Tales of Solace, which was released earlier this year.
The album, which has now amassed over 51 million streams, was released as the world was attempting to come to terms with the outbreak of Covid-19, the global lockdowns and the uncertainty, anxiety and sadness it caused.
“I needed to recalibrate on many levels – musically, personally and mentally,” Moccio said at the time. “Solitude and quiet, in a noisy world, are elements I have been craving for a long time. Naturally, it made sense to engage in an intimate conversation between myself and the instrument which has been faithful to me my entire life. Strip it all down…one person, in one room, with one instrument.”
Now, amid a second wave of Covid-19, as we approach such a great time of celebration – the birth of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Moccio’s Winter Poemsprovides an alternative to the hustle and bustle of what many people associate with Christmas.
Instead, Moccio’s stripped back tracks provide listeners a moment to sit back, rehabilitate, collect their thoughts and think about the true meaning of Christmas.
At a time when the UK is being told to prepare for a different and alternative Christmas, perhaps our society should look at this as the opportunity to remember what really matters – not over the top presents, decorations and parties, but our faith, our families and friends, our health, our mental well-being and, as we celebrate the birth of Christ, we should think about what really matters in our lives.
Although Moccio’s Winter Poems contains no lyrics, it will speak directly to the listener’s soul. It transcends cultures and can be universally understood and felt.
It is just what we all need right now.
Winter Poems by Stephan Moccio is out now on Decca Records.