From a Christmas Guitar – Gordon Quinton
From the album notes:
I have always loved Christmas. When I was very young, my father had a small general store at the front of our house facing Main Street in Windsor in Central Newfoundland. He had a large cardboard Santa Claus which he took from the attic every year and placed in the store window about a week before Christmas and, for me, it was a sure sign that the special day was really coming soon! On Christmas Eve he would cut a tree in the woods and bring it home on his big wooden komatik and put it up in the living room. That evening we would all take part in trimming our Christmas tree with lots of coloured lights and angels’ hair. A bright red homemade star would be placed at the very top of the tree. After church service, we listened to Christmas songs, tunes and stories on the radio, lit the oil heater and later that evening my mother would sit at the pump organ and play lovely old hymns such as “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Silent Night” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. The melodies have stayed with me all through the years and always bring back those happy memories of Christmas.
I believe that a lot of the old Christmas carols and hymns contain some of the most beautiful melodies ever written. For this recording project, I have chosen a collection of these tunes plus two original Christmas compositions which I have developed for fingerstyle guitar. For me, the Christmas season brings forth a sense of spirituality and good will and I hope that I have captured some of the feeling of this special time of year. Merry Christmas! Gordon
- Joy to the World (I. Watts/G.F. Handel) (1:51) A radiant and uplifting carol that is really fun to play.
- We Three Kings of Orient Are (J.H. Hopkins) (2:28) The journey of the Magi across the desert by camel to visit the newborn Jesus is one of my favourite Bible stories. The music of this carol strongly evokes that journey.
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Traditional) (2:35) This is an old English carol which was often sung by travelling minstrels.
- Once in Royal David’s City (C.F. Alexander/H.J. Gauntlett) (1:47) I remember this hymn from my childhood. Written by C. Frances Alexander in the mid 1800s for Hymns for Little Children. Henry J. Gauntlett composed the music.
- I Saw Three Ships (Traditional) (1:15) A melody from the 16th century which I play in a lilting jig style.
- O Come All Ye Faithful (C.F. Oakeley/J. Reading) (2:18) This old hymn, “Adeste Fidelis” was originally sung in Latin. The music is accredited to English organist John Reading and dates back to the late 1600s.
- Silent Night (J. Mohr/F. Gruber) (3:22) One of my first favourite melodies and one most often requested during Christmas performances. It is both haunting and timeless.
- Deck the Halls (Traditional) (2:03) I love playing this sprightly carol which is a traditional Welsh melody.
- The Snowy Road (Gordon Quinton) (3:39) This impressionistic piece was inspired by a winter walk on an old country farm road near where I live. The muffled sound of the silently falling flakes of snow on the covered frozen ground brought back wonderful memories of my childhood!
- O Little Town of Bethlehem (P. Brooks/L.H. Redner) (1:58) An American hymn from the late 1800s. Adorned with rich imagery such as the silent stars going by and the dark streets shining in everlasting light, this composition was very moving to interpret.
- In the Bleak Midwinter (Traditional) (2:51) A traditional tune which has a wonderful happy-sad quality to it.
- The First Noel (Traditional) (2:21) A French hymn which has become a standard at Christmastime.
- The Animals’ Christmas (Gordon Quinton) (3:45) An old calendar picture at home long ago of a stable scene in which farm animals kept watch over the baby Jesus in the manger was the inspiration for this original composition. It was also inspired by our beautiful cat, Poco-Henry, who loves Christmas and exemplifies the joy and warmth of the season. For all animals!
- O Christmas Tree (Traditional) (2:31) This is an old German carol, “O Tannenbaum”, which always conjures up visions of Christmas lights and that special glow of the tree that fills a winter’s night.
- O Holy Night (A.C. Adam) (3:44) French composer Adolphe Charles Adam wrote this lovely piece. It has a melody that creates a sense of reverence, celebrating the night that Christ was born.
Total Playing Time: 38:28
For Patti and Poco-Henry
Produced by Gordon Quinton
Recorded and engineered by Chris Hennessy at Ballyhoura Productions, Torbay, Newfoundland and Labrador
All selections arranged by Gordon Quinton
Original compositions and original arrangements published by Woodnight Music, St. John’s, NL (SOCAN)
All selections solo guitar by Gordon Quinton Guitars: Gibson and Martin
Photographs and cover concept by Gordon Quinton and Patti Fulton
Graphic design by Paul Gruchy
Mastered at The Lacquer Channel, Toronto, Ontario Manufactured by RDR Music Group, Toronto, Ontario
Thank you: To Chris and Laurie Hennessy at Ballyhoura Studio for their friendship and hospitality. Chris, thanks for your recording and engineering expertise and for your invaluable insight into getting just the right takes. We had a lot of fun and great memories will remain of our time in your studio by the ocean. Thank you to the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council for its kind assistance. To my twin brother, Wallie, for his help and inspiration. To Paul Gruchy for his visionary graphic arts contribution. To all the folks at RDR Productions and the Lacquer Channel in Toronto for their high quality manufacturing. To Boyd Chubbs for his constant encouragement and belief in my work. My gratitude to everyone along the way who has influenced and supported my music. To Patti for her love and imagination. And to our wonderful companion, Poco-Henry who loves Christmas and who shows us the magic and spirit of it all year long!
Woodnight Records, wnmcd-003
Copyright © 2005 Gordon Quinton/Woodnight Music. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized duplication, exhibition or distribution of this recording or any part thereof is strictly prohibited. Made in Canada.