What will Christmas be like in 2020? One thing seems certain; many beloved traditions will have to wait for another year. Still, we have to make the best out of it. Here Karen Biehl comes to our rescue with four visions of “The Snow Lay on the Ground”, one of the most tender and warm carols of all. This delightful single will brighten up any Christmas playlist. It is also a welcome reminder that we must not lose hope during this difficult time.
Karen Biehl has studied with former Metropolitan Opera star Thomas Hayward before completing her master’s degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. She is also classically trained in piano and violin. For “Starlight Dreams”, released in November 2018, the readers and listeners here on Newagemusic.guide awarded Biehl the Best Solo Piano 2018 award. In 2019 and 2020, Biehl has released several singles; “Portal to Peace”, “As It Was, Ages Hence”, “Echoing Canyon” ( I & II), “The Aftermath“, “Reflections” – to name a few. See the complete list on Spotify.
The Snow Lay on the Ground
There are four versions of “The Snow Lay on the Ground” on the single. Just by looking at the titles, you can see that there is something very playful about this single; harps and strings, piano and strings – and with or without percussion. It makes me want to discover these pieces and experience their differences. I’m almost feeling as eager as a child before running out into the freshly fallen snow.
Harp and Strings (and percussion)
The harp fits perfectly to the carol, giving it a divine sound. The viola sounds terrific, as it goes extremely low and incredibly high.
Harp and Strings (without percussion)
Given that the percussion is not a big part of the arrangement, one would think that it really doesn’t matter much – but it really does. Since the percussion underlines the rhythm, it gives it more movement. This version is, in a classical sense, less danceable. But don’t take my word for it. Check it out yourself:
Piano and Strings (with percussion)
The piano, compared to the harp, seems more anonymous. It makes you focus on the strings, which is a good thing. It is such a magnificent and timeless melody.
Piano and Strings (without percussion)
Without percussion, the piece is gentler and softer, which is a tremendous conclusion to the single.
“Venite Adoremus – The Snow Lay on the Ground” can be played in many ways, often with a full orchestra and choir. That said, I think Karen Biehl has done marvelous work! It shows her classical background, and that she is capable of doing almost any genre.
“The Snow Lay on the Ground” single makes you reflect on not just the differences in sound, but what all versions have in common; a deep, settled fullness of the joy of Christ:
And thus that manger poor
Became a throne;
For He Whom Mary bore
Was God the Son.
O come, then, let us join
The heavenly host,
To praise the Father, Son,
And Holy Ghost.
I don’t know about you – but I find that deeply comforting, especially during this trying time.