Shannon Janssen | The Keys of Christmas

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United States - Iowa

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Easy Listening: Mood Music Classical: Contemporary Moods: Featuring Piano
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The Keys of Christmas

by Shannon Janssen

From the heart and hands of Shannon Janssen come the memories of Christmas put to music. Wonderfully orchestrated, from sleigh bells to strings, Shannon's piano arrangements capture Christmas in every beautifully played Key.
Genre: Easy Listening: Mood Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. O Come All Ye Faithful - Hark the Herald Angels Sing
3:46 $0.99
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2. White Christmas
3:14 $0.99
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3. Silent Night - Away in a Manger
4:55 $0.99
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4. Joy to the World
2:49 $0.99
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5. Flurries
2:47 $0.99
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6. What Child is This - We Three Kings - Carol of the Bells
6:01 $0.99
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7. Remember When
3:28 $0.99
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8. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
3:22 $0.99
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9. The First Noel - First Christmas
4:27 $0.99
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10. Silent Snow
5:28 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Born and raised in Iowa, Shannon Janssen began playing a small electric organ when she was very young. She has very few memories of it, but her parents remember Shannon making up tunes at a very early age. When she was eight, formal piano lessons began. Her Austrian piano instructor was strict, allowing Shannon to only play classical pieces. She would practice the lessons her teacher would give while spending additional time at the piano learning pop songs and working on her own compositions. Shannon continued lessons through high school, then studied piano with a passionate pursuit that led her through the years. She was a church pianist for 20 years and taught private lessons for twelve years.

At the request of people who wanted to take Shannon's music home with them, in 2001 she began the adventure of recording her debut album, "Heart Journey". Working closely with her producer Mark Pence, orchestration added tasteful beauty to her piano solos. Together they would see eye to eye and hear ear to ear exactly the special touches that would add the magic that Shannon was looking for. Within a year, she began recording her second album "Piano Paintings", released in October of 2002.

In recent years she began writing her compositions down in sheet music form. It is her desire in the future to have her music available in song books for students, teachers and anyone who enjoys playing piano. Shannon is now a full time pianist performing for Von Maur, Collins Plaza Hotel, for private and company parties, receptions, special events and concerts of her original music. She continues writing in preparation for her next CD.

Music is her passion, and her style is unique. Her award winning music would be categorized as Contemporary Classical or Romantic New Age. She plays with such feeling and emotion; her melodies will take your heart on a journey. To learn more about Shannon and to hear her music, visit her website at: www.shannonjanssen.com.

From Shannon Janssen's "The Keys of Christmas" CD, "Flurries" was a Finalist in the Instrumental Category of the 2005 Great American Song Contest.

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Reviews


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marie o'neill

Definetly one for the Christmas stocking!
When listening to the music, you can hear the voice of the artists soul as she touches the keys. It stirs the emotions.
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Bill Binkelman- New Age Reporter

Janssen could prove to be one of the better artists in the adult contemporary in
Since the trees in my Minneapolis neighborhood are already losing their leaves by the bunch, it’s time to start reviewing holiday music CDs. It’s a pleasure to kick off the “season” with this delightful album from pianist Shannon Janssen. Aided by the expertly layered and tasteful synths (mostly orchestral in nature) of Mark Vincent Pence, Janssen has recorded ten tracks, of which four are medleys and four (one of which is part of a medley) are self-penned originals by the artist herself. The familiar pieces represent a nice blend of Christmas hymns with secular carols, something I always prefer over just all of one or the other. Musical arrangement duties are split between the pianist and the electronic keyboardist, each handling their respective instruments. They display assured symmetry, never “stepping” on one another yet giving each a chance to shine as individuals.

Of the Christmas/holiday standards, I particularly enjoyed Janssen’s versions of “White Christmas” (which has a wistful romanticism to it, featuring great synth textures by Pence), the medley of “What Child Is This-We Three Kings-Carol of the Bells” (the first part is especially poignant while the drama of “Carol of the Bells” is nicely handled without going over the top), and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” spot-on perfect for listening to in front of a crackling fire, slowed down a tad by Janssen with Pence’s well-layered strings.

The original tunes number four and three of them are something special. “Flurries” is a playful yet delicate piano tune, opening with wind-effects, and has a child-like feel to it, as upper register notes dance on top of flowing electronic keyboard washes, with lower register notes providing a warm background. The introduction of a Russian-like tempo and melodic component mid-song, along with some sleigh-bells, injects even more liveliness into the cut. “Remember When,” as you might infer, is romantic and nostalgic, as piano and strings paint reflective soundscapes with occasional bouts of higher drama on Janssen’s part. “First Christmas” which interpolates with “The First Noel,” is a fairly standard “pretty” number but doesn’t really stand out (which is as it should be, since it must flow evenly in and out of “…Noel”). “Silent Snow” closes out the album Ushered in by twinkling bells, like moonlight on freshly fallen snow, this song is a perfect conclusion to the CD -- soft, inviting, and also reminiscent of the unique blanket of quiet which embraces the outside world at this time of year. I often tell folks from southern climes that here in Minnesota, on cold winter nights, if it’s quiet enough, you can actually “hear” snow falling. It’s a very special occurrence and this song captures some of that feeling for me.

In my review of Shannon Janssen’s last CD, Piano Paintings, I wrote “Janssen could prove to be one of the better artists in the adult contemporary instrumental/new age music genre in the coming decade.” The Keys of Christmas proves that I was right in my evaluation/prediction. This is a lovely addition to your holiday music collection, fresh enough to sound “new” yet featuring a good mixture of familiar carols with the artist’s original compositions. Give yourself an early “present,” and start playing this one sooner than later, but probably not until after Halloween, though!

Bill Binkelman
New Age Reporter
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Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck


This is the third album I have covered by Shannon Janssen and I am continually impressed and enlightened by her tremendous talent on the piano.

The Keys Of Christmas came at a great time for me the past few days. The stress of certain situations was bearing down on me, and I put this wonderful CD on then suddenly my attitude began to change quickly. Not only did it put me in the holiday spirit, Janssen’s jazz-new age keyboard interpretations of yearly favorites and her own adaptations of seasonal classics was so beautiful and inviting I had to keep giving it a spin, three times in two days actually. When you hear something that is healing and spiritual you want more, it is natural to feel drawn towards the light to put a smile back in your heart.

Once again, Mark Vincent Pence is on hand to lend his expertise to the recording process. His orchestrations are the sweets for the sweet as they say. Pence is a real pro that compliments the artistry of Shannon Janssen in just the right way. That slice of heaven that Janssen is so adept in relaying in her music finds the perfect partner in well-timed orchestrations.

As I recall, the last two albums I heard from this talented lady had the same effect on me. Janssen has enormous potential and it is obvious to me now that she could decide to go in any direction with styles of music and have success. Ultimately that is the position any musician wants to be in, having no boundaries makes you more marketable. The only things left for this woman is for the right individual to discover her and present opportunities that allow those great talents to keep on growing and blossoming. This was an obvious choice to make a Christmas album and every composition is strong, her piano playing congeals with every element around her. What is there left to say? Holiday music is supposed to make you feel great, and without a doubt, The Keys Of Christmas gets the job done without any vocals. This album is a great triumph as most people like to sing along to their favorite songs. Trust me when I say this, you will not find it necessary to sing as your heart and soul will be singing right along every step of the way, and that is all you need to make holiday music feel right.
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Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck


This is the third album I have covered by Shannon Janssen and I am continually impressed and enlightened by her tremendous talent on the piano.

The Keys Of Christmas came at a great time for me the past few days. The stress of certain situations was bearing down on me, and I put this wonderful CD on then suddenly my attitude began to change quickly. Not only did it put me in the holiday spirit, Janssen
Read more...