Number 30: Variations on the Kanon by Pachelbel


Number 30: Variations on the Kanon by Pachelbel, as performed by George Winston

I’ve always been a big fan of George Winston. His piano music has soothed me through the toughest of days and has given me hope and inspiration when I believed none remained. This particular piece is very special to me, as it bridges Thanksgiving with the beginning of the Christmas celebration.

Winston plays the song as softly as he does with profound intensity. The rise and fall in this music captures the ebb and flow of emotions for me during this time, the sweet celebration with family, and the melancholy of memories of those who have left us.

My friend Brad introduced me to Winston’s music when I was in my first year of teaching in the winter of 1987. I spent most of my winter break with him and his family that year, listening over and over to the sounds of December, Autumn, and other Winston works as the sweet smell of his mother’s cooking filled every corner of their home. Now, as I listen again to the familiar melody, I reflect on all that has changed since those days of innocence. Both of my parents have passed on, as has his mom (my second Mom, as she always said), and now his father lay in the hospital recovering from a heart attack.

I have much to be thankful during these ebbs and flows in my life. Our departed have left us with gifts of their own to appreciate our lives with a greater sincerity, to love more fully, to appreciate more genuinely. I would like to think that these days of celebration and contemplation enrich our lives long after our cheers of the new year have fallen silent on the quiet streets of 2010.

May each of you be blessed with good memories and reflections today. I am grateful for all that you have given me, and I will do my best to pass on your kindness and love to others along the way. ❤

4 thoughts on “Number 30: Variations on the Kanon by Pachelbel

  1. I was so thrilled to open this post and see that the one you were referring to is George Winston’s. December is one of my favorite albums, and his version of this song is by far my favorite. It might just be my absolute favorite Christmas song. If not, it certainly shares the top spot.

    Holidays are a bittersweet time, where one cannot help but think of those who have passed on and how much they are missed. Thank God that the positive, memorable things people sow into our lives continue to live on when they are gone. That connection makes life so much more of a rewarding experience.


  2. You know how much I enjoy your writing… and this is no exception. I find myself looking forward to coming home every night to sit and read the latest posting of RVW. I think Ive finally figured out why. You so eloquently write what so many of us are feeling and thinking. This latest venture of the Christmas Countdown just proves it.
    I absolutely love George Winston and have been a fan for 20 yrs when my brother first introduced him to me. Back then, I remember thinking ” People are listening more to the likes of George Benson or George Carlin, not George Winston!” The tranquility of G.W. was a private pleasure. As I have grown older I now am saying “What was I thinking? Why did I not share this?” I’ve learned my lesson and have exposed my son since early on to listen and to appreciate ALL types of music. I think it has worked because if I look at his ipod right now, I would find pop, r&b-modern and classic, country, rock, broadway classics, alternative, and a huge folder of Christmas music ranging from the classics to modern that proudly includes George Winston’s December. What a way to make a mother happy. So thank you for compiling this wonderful list and giving the perfect kick off to the holiday season!


  3. Carl: I hope you know that number 30 doesn’t mean that it just made the cut. This could very well be in my top five, but it symbolically means so much at the very beginning of the season…

    Michele: Thank you for such kind words. I appreciate them greatly! And good for you offering him so many experiences in music….It’s ironic how, in an age where communication and technology make us so much closer than ever before–and so much history and the world so accessible, our children somehow miss out on the foundations of the very things they love to call their own…Our roles as moms and dads have never been more important to ensure our children get the well-rounded experiences that will allow them to make informed, reasonable decisions about their own lives… 🙂


  4. I pulled this out and listened the album last night while I wrapped some Christmas presents. It is a wonderful CD. I’ve had it for so long and the music is just laden with holiday memories. I love how music does that. It not only entertains but it gets interwoven into our memories and we develop such strong emotional ties to it.


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