for this project came to me in the mid-1990s from watching Victor Borge's
famous classical variants on the 'Happy Birthday' tune. I wondered
what various classical composers would have come up with if they had been
commissioned to write 'Jingle Bells' as a classical piece of music.
In each case I started off with
an existing work by the composer, transforming it by the end of the piece
into the now-familiar holiday melody. Most works leant themselves
to an adaptation more to the refrain ("Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle
all the way"), though a couple seemed to be better adaptable to the stanza
melody ("Dashing through the snow..."). For two in particular (Beethoven's
and Bach's) I was able to come up with a variation on both the stanza and
the refrain, though with these composers you may note that the interweaving
of the 'classical' and 'Jingle' themes is more subtle and you may have
to listen more closely to pick out the carol tune.
After the ten classical variants
of the holiday tune below, you will find a link to my own modern improvisation
on the 'Jingle Bells' tune.
For a sample of JW's other piano
improvisation, please click here.
For a combination of piano improvisation
with poetry reading, please click here.