"Striving to create the finest musical experience."

When Christmas is Near

When Christmas is Near - Album Case

Album Overview:

"When Christmas is Near" (2001) contains original piano arrangements that are romantic, dramatic, nostalgic, or simply dance over the keys with Yelena's light jazzy touch. You will love the beautiful new harmonies and developed piano textures in the familiar songs. This will become one of your favorite holiday CDs, also suitable as classy piano background music at any time of the year.

From Yelena's Journal:

"For many years I played Christmas music at churches, at Christmas parties and for my friends. Often after performances I was asked if I had any recordings made with my Christmas repertoire, and I always answered that I did not feel like making those, as I thought the market was over saturated with all kinds of Christmas stuff, so why adding to it? I started to tune myself towards accepting the idea of recording Christmas album after number of people told me that among tons of Christmas records it is not that easy to find something really nice. They told me that they'd love to have my stuff to listen to.

During spring and summer of 2001 I put my energy into writing piano arrangements of my favorite old Christmas carols and tunes. Simultaneously I was polishing my performance of the ones that were already done and making all kinds of editorials. I had not started actual recording until I was satisfied with every note and every stroke on the piano keys.

Recording sessions are probably the toughest part of the whole process, yet I enjoy them the most. It is when I can really make it all happen - whether it'll be worthy of all the trouble or not. I love the challenge of perfecting every sound, every passage before 'unforgiving ears' of the microphones which 'hear' and record any sounds including such nonmusical sounds as my breathing, swallowing, chair clicking, etc. I have to also avoid knocking sounds that my fingers or fingernails might make while playing a difficult passage, not to mention that I can not have the luxuries like air conditioner or heater running (too much background noise).

After recording many takes of each song I have to select the best ones. Choosing is difficult for me, because life performance is never perfect and never evenly inspired; I might prefer one version with my heart, but be forced to choose another with my mind, or vise versa. The finished project must meet very high standards.

After I'd made my final choices, I started the mastering process - working on the quality of sound, making sure the volumes are optimal, determining the order of songs and other minute details. At the same time I was working on the jewel case inserts. I wanted to find something very gentle and heartwarming, but not a cliché, something personal. I wanted to express Christmas Spirit with power. I came across the picture of my firstborn son looking at his first Christmas tree. My search was over.

"When Christmas is Near" CD was released right before Thanksgiving 2001. Release of a CD always reminds me delivering a child: all the hard work was done, the complications were behind and forgotten at the first glimpse of my baby's face. I understand that from now on my 'baby's' life is out of my hands, separate from me with a destiny of its own..."

When Christmas is Near mp3 $0.99
1. There's a Song in the Air Listen Download
2. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Listen Download
3. The Holy and the Ivy / We 3 Kings / Coventry Carol Listen Download
4.O Little Town of Bethlehem / Away in a Manger Listen Download
5.Patapan / God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen Listen Download
6.Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming / What Child is This Listen Download
7.Ave Maria Listen Download
8.On This Day Earth Shall Ring Listen Download
9.Sing We Now of Christmas / He is Born Listen Download
10. O Jesus So Meek, O Jesu So Kind Listen Download
11.Here We Come / Masters in This Hall Listen Download
12.The First Noel Listen Download
13.Silent Night, Holy Night Listen Download
14.Jingle Bells / It Came Upon the Midnight Clear Listen Download
15. The Nutcracker Suite Listen Download

Listeners' Comments:

"A magnificent collection of well-known seasonal classical music, each piece arranged to near-perfection by a master pianist. "When Christmas is Near" is ideal piano background music for any occasion, not only Christmas. This gem will enrich your music collection." [Max Fillmore E., student]

"The CD is wonderful!" [Jane Dutton, retired postal worker]

"This brings back memories of my childhood Christmases. I particularly liked Silent Night." [J. Ritter]

"This CD fills me with the spirit of Christmas." [C. Kelly]

"Very soothing." [Brenda Drummond, office manager]

"This CD definitely stands out in comparison to other Christmas CDs. The arrangements are beautiful, extremely well-done, absolutely wonderful to listen to!.. My family and I listened to this CD throughout the whole season, this music enhanced our Christmas experience and added enjoinment and quality to our Christmas season. "When Christmas is Near" filled the house with memories and joy. The CD also made ideal Christmas presents." [Cecile Stringfield, nurse]

"I was surprised how interesting and fresh were the arrangements. They are so unusual and creative, very nice; my wife and I liked them a lot." [David Simmons, "Glory Street Quartet" singer]

"Yelena's latest release of the Christmas album is so unique. Every song is a reflection of how she interpreted each song and arranged them with such feeling. I think this is my favorite." [Lisa Chandler, business owner]

"When Christmas is Near" has a beautiful assortment of sacred, classical and modern Christmas music. To my novice ear, I can pick out many varieties of music-incorporating, even jazz, which are all so tastefully arranged and put together and all flow so well. All of the well known tunes are pleasantly arranged in such a way that they feel new, but at the same time they all sound comfortable and familiar. This CD is refreshingly enjoyable and pleasant to hear any time of the year, not just at Christmas!" [Judy Smith, nurse]

"Yelena Eckemoff's collection of Christmas music is not one you will want to save just for the season. With its artful and original arrangements, one would enjoy these beautiful melodies anytime. Classically trained in Moscow, her talent is superb, and her albums provide wonderful pleasure." [Gail F. Stilwell]