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Classics for Children

Classics for Children

Ref: CD504

19 tracks 63 min
Click here to preview trk 8

Beautiful piano music to excite, inspire and encourage, composed with children in mind, from Mozart's variations on 'Twinkle, twinkle little star' and evocative children's pieces by Debussy, Schumann and others, to minuets and other simple pieces which children often learn to play.

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Classics for Children

A charming collection of piano music for children. Music with a straightforward appeal from the three great classical composers Bach, Mozart and Beethoven plus music by Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Debussy and others. The booklet text will help children - and even adults! - understand a little about the music they are hearing. A minuet, a sonata, and a set of variations (on 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star') are all explained along with help in enjoying character pieces in a variety of styles which capture the many different moods of classical music, from stately dances to songs without words, sleigh rides and music for fairies and nursery toys.

1 Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Minuet in G major
2 Johann Sebastian Bach Minuet in G minor
3 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Variations on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star K300e (265)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Sonata in C major K545
4 Allegro
5 Andante
6 Rondo
7 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Für Elise
8 Louis-Claude Daquin (1694-1772) The Cuckoo
9 Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) The Bird Chorus
10 Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Venetian Gondola Song
11 Robert Schumann (1810-1856) The Entreating Child
12 Robert Schumann Catch Me if You Can
13 William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875) The Lake
14 Franz Schubert (11797-1827-8) Musical Moment in F minor
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Children's Corner (extracts)
15 Jimbo's Lullaby
16 Serenade of the Doll
17 The Little Shepherd
18 Claude Debussy The Dance of Puck
19 Claude Debussy Minstrels

Martin Souter, piano
Recorded at Eastcote Studios by Philip Bagenal
Edited and mastered at Classical Communications
Executive Producer Martin Souter
Made in Great Britain

Inside text:

Classics for Children

This recording begins with two minuets by Johann Sebastian Bach. He was a musician who lived in the early part of the eighteenth century, when people wore elegant and colourful clothes with lots of frills and lace. A favourite pastime of the period was dancing, and composers like Bach wrote dozens of simple pieces for people to play for dancing. The minuet was one of the most popular dances and was like an early version of the waltz. These two minuets are in a major key and a minor key, one sounds happy and the other sad. Later in the same century Mozart wrote a lot of music for piano as well as other instruments. He used to teach children the piano and may have used the next piece in his lessons. Mozart chose a famous short tune - Twinkle , twinkle, little star (track 3) - and composed quite a long piece based on it. The piece divides into sections, each one of which is a variation on the tune. In other words, you can hear the tune many times over during the piece, but each time it is disguised by changes to the music. Mozart was very young when he wrote these variations and he was probably showing off how clever he could be by altering each section of music just a little bit so that sometimes the tune is hidden in the middle of the music, sometimes it's at the top and sometime it disappears altogether! The next piece is a sonata. This piece has three sections called movements. They are all very different from each other. The first movement (track 4) starts with a lovely tune which Mozart alters and develops a bit like he does in the variations. The second movement (track 5) is a lovely song-like piece, slower than the first movement. The last movement (track 6) is called a rondo, in which the very short opening tune comes back several times while in between Mozart writes different short sections.

Beethoven's Für Elise (track 7) is a very beautiful piece. It may have been written for a girl called Therese, but it may be that Beethoven's publisher couldn't read Beethoven's writing and printed the wrong name (Elise) in the title!

Daquin's Cuckoo (track 8) is another rondo, like the last movement of Mozart's sonata. The starting tune comes back three times. You can hear the call of the cuckoo which the composer has made into part of the tune. Rameau, a Frenchman like Daquin, wrote the next piece about the dawn chorus of the birds (track 9). You can hear the twittering of the noisy birds which Rameau has expressed by using lots of trills (twiddly bits!). The next piece is from a collection of piano music called Songs Without Words. Mendelssohn was a German composer in the nineteenth century. The Venetian Gondola Song (track 10) has a gentle, lilting rhythm which sounds like the lapping of water on the side of a gondola, a boat which people use for travel around the watery 'streets' of Venice. The Entreating Child (track 11) and Catch me if you can (track 12) are from Schumann's pieces called Scenes of Childhood. In the first piece a little boy or girl asks a question over and over again. You can hear the same short tune repeated and altered slightly several times. The piece ends with a 'musical' question mark and sounds unfinished - the child's question remains unanswered! Catch me if you can is fast and furious - a chase round a garden, perhaps.

The Lake by Sterndale Bennett (track 13) is a musical picture of a lazy rowing boat on a lake in summer. As in the Mendelssohn piece (track 10) you can hear the water rippling along and the steady rhythm of the oars in the water. Schubert's Musical Moment (track 14) is a sleigh ride through the snow.

The next three pieces are rather special. They are taken from Children's Corner, a collection of music written by a father for his small daughter in around 1907. Debussy's daughter had a toy elephant called Jimbo or possibly Jumbo (track 15) - Debussy, like Beethoven's publisher of Für Elise, may have got the spelling wrong! Jimbo is obviously very sleepy and the lullaby does the trick. The Serenade of the Doll (track 16) is a charming piece in which Debussy can make the piano sound almost like a quiet guitar strumming away underneath an imaginary window. The Little Shepherd (track 17) sits on a quiet hillside playing a pipe, at first mournfully, then with more cheer. The Dance of Puck (track 18) is from Debussy's collection of piano preludes and depicts the fairy dashing about in a secret forest. Minstrels (track 19) from the same collection depicts a group of entertainers singing and dancing, playing a tambourine or drum and clowning around on stage before settling very briefly into a music hall-style song.

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