Christmas Song of the Day 2020: part 18

I Saw Three Ships by Jon Schmidt

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Many of my favorite Christmas songs are pretty intense, driving rock or upbeat pop. Today, I have something very different.

Jon Schmidt’s arrangement of I Saw Three Ships is a solo piano piece. The whole song is based on the rhythm of the main melody, so it’s “straightforward” in a sense. But I’m amazed at how rich he manages to makes the song while sticking to that simple motif. It builds up from the simple melody at the beginning to add more and more complex variations, harmonies, and countermelodies at every repetition, until he returns to the original melody to conclude the piece.

Despite only being three minutes long, there’s a lot to keep your ear interested in this one. I actually listed to the song on loop probably 25 times while writing this post, and if anything I like it even more now than when I started.

You can now get the entire series of songs as a Spotify playlist.