Each year I start refreshing my Christmas repertoire at the beginning of November at the latest, to ensure that by December, it’s all ready to be performed for Christmas events. Christmas is always a crazy time for musicians, with Carol concerts and recitals, Christmas parties and Winter Weddings, but I really enjoy the buzz; this time of year is definitely not boring! My favourite piece of Christmas music has to be Variations pastorales sur un vieux noël by Marcel Samuel-Rousseau. I learned this piece as part of my ABRSM Diploma a couple of years back, but since then it’s made a reappearance each winter. There are 7 variations, based on the theme of Noël nouvelet. Each variation is beautiful (and challenging!) in a different way, and they all make full use of the versatility of the harp, with fast glistening arpeggios, low rich chords, eerie harmonics, and beautiful melodies.