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CLASSICAL  October 2007

CLASSICAL October 2007

Subject:

Children's Music

From:

James Tobin <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 5 Oct 2007 15:31:40 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (68 lines)

JEFFREY FISHER
FAIRY TALES: MUSIC FROM THE BALLET "HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON"
Inchellina; Red Shoes; The Mermaid
Composed and Performed by Jeffrey Fisher
Two Birds Flying Music TBF 2007
2006.  TT: 45:24

TOMAS SVOBODA
CHILDREN'S TREASURE BOX
Volumes 1-4, Op. 81, Op. 86, Op. 90, Op. 91
Composer at the piano
North Pacific Music NPM LD 026
2006.  TT: 62:56

These are very different kettles of fish.  The Svoboda is a recording
of sixty graded exercises for children learning to play the piano,
somewhat comparable to Bartok's Mikrokosmos.  The Piano Quarterly in
1987 said that Svoboda's was "among the 40 most important composer
collections of the 20th century for teaching piano." Each piece is more
difficult than the previous and introduces a new technique.  Each piece
has a name, such as "Getting Sleepy," the first.  Volume I, the first
twenty pieces, is meant for first or second year students.  From Volume
2, "these pieces are appropriate for presentation in recital." There are
17 pieces in Volume 2, 12 in Volume 3, and 11 in Volume 4.

I would say that this CD could be used chiefly to decide whether to
purchase the sheet music or for the learner to check the accuracy and
progress of the learning process.  The sheet music can be obtained
from www.TomasSvoboda.com.


FAIRY TALES is the recipient of the "Adding Wisdom Award," 2007 and
the "iParenting Media Award," also. 2007.  I am not familiar with
either of these.  Fisher claims that this music is "geared to both
children and adults."  I am not at all sure about the "adults" part,
though I can imagine parents cheerfully listening to it with
children, assuming it delighted the latter.  Not having immediate
access to young children at the moment, I am not in a position to
test this assumption.  I do have to say that I am not inclined to
listen to it repeatedly for my own private delight. This is
particularly the case with the Inchellina music (Thumbelina
Variations).  By the way, neither the album text nor Fisher's
website, www.healingmusicofthesouthwest.com, specifies how or on what
the music is performed, but it sounds to me like a synthesizer of
some kind, though some of the instrumental timbres actually sound as
if various instruments could be involved.  Fisher has played in a
number of instrumental ensembles, including a jazz quartet in Taos
that he says popularized the music of Thelonius Monk.

So what does the music sound like?  Cheerful and perky, for the most
part.  Bouncy rhythms with strong dance beats, but the rhythms and
melodies are very simple and not that varied.  "The Mad Cobbler"
section of "Red Shoes" does start out as mysterious, even ominous, but
that does not last long; and the final number (of five) of The Red Shoes
has music that is more complex than usual.  The Mermaid (six sections)
includes a lot of wave sounds and storm effects.  "The Sea- Witch" part
has some shimmering sounds, as well as a brief Siren song.

This album is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble and
elsewhere.

Jim Tobin

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