94-year-old ‘Santa Baby’ composer plays Moonlight Sonata for daughter’s birthday

1 December 2020, 15:58 | Updated: 3 December 2020, 11:44

Philip Springer plays Beethoven for his daughter
Philip Springer plays Beethoven for his daughter. Picture: Tamar Springer/Facebook

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Proof that even in old age, music will never leave you.

This is the wonderful moment a near-centenarian, and one of this century’s most successful Christmas songwriters, plays Beethoven for his daughter on piano with superb accuracy and musicality.

American composer Philip Springer, now 94 years old, is the brains behind the deliciously coy Christmas song, ‘Santa Baby’ (1953).

Springer also wrote songs for some of music’s greatest names throughout his decades-spanning career, including Frank Sinatra, Dusty Springfield and Elvis Presley.

But his biggest hit has remained the Christmas standard, which has been covered by stars from Kylie Minogue and Taylor Swift, to Robbie Williams and Madonna.

Springer’s daughter, Tamar, shared a video of her father playing the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata on her birthday, with a sweet message that appears to have resonated with hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are missing the joy of live music.

“If you have 5 minutes, this was a birthday highlight for me, my 94-year-old dad, ‘Santa Baby’ composer Philip Springer, playing the Moonlight Sonata,” Tamar captioned her post.

Read more: 92-year-old with dementia remembers ‘Moonlight’ Sonata on piano >

94-year-old ‘Santa Baby’ composer plays Moonlight Sonata for daughter’s birthday

“Watching him play the piano is astounding,” Tamar said in an email to Classic FM. “He practices every day, and the feeling that he expresses when he plays is beyond words.

“It is just incredulous that a man his age can play with that precision and feeling.

“Even when we had tensions while I grew up, his music always soothed me and reminded me of why he is on the planet. His music solved a lot of strife and defined the connection between us when it was difficult to do so in other ways.

“I am proud of him and my main mission is to promote some of his unknown musical compositions,” she said.

Tamar is now the executive director of Tamir Music, publishers of ‘Santa Baby’. In 1999, she produced her favourite of her father’s works, The Bells of Notre Dame, a concert musical based on the beloved Victor Hugo novel.

This year, Tamar had intended to put on a production of the musical, but performances were sadly cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. Her team has said that “as soon as the world situation permits, The Bells of Notre Dame will return.”