It’s few 13-year-olds who set a well-loved Christmas poem at eight and have it recorded by one of the world’s leading singers just five years later. But the young English composer Alma Deutscher has done just that, with her starry soloist the American baritone Thomas Hampson.
They teamed up early this month to record Deutscher’s setting of ‘ Twas the Night before Christmasfor classical music streaming service IDAGIO, reworked with added parts for violin and celesta. The composer partners Hampson on the piano as you can see in the clip below, with a few gentle instructions for the singer at times.
Deutscher also explains the poem’s personal significance. “My grandmother would read it to me every Christmas Eve before the fire and it was always my favourite Christmas poem, and that’s why I tried and set music to it.”
Deutscher, who has been dubbed ‘little Mozart’, came to the public’s attention after her YouTube channel was shared by English comedian Stephen Fry online. Videos of the then seven-year-old Deutscher performing her own compositions obviously impressed, and she has since written two operas, a concerto for violin and orchestra, and a piano concerto. Deutscher also plays the violin.