Thursday, February 2, 2012
Maestro Classics: The Soldier's Tale...Review & Giveaway!
Maestro Classics™, winner of 50 prestigious awards for its Stories In Music™ CD series, is dedicated to creating recordings that offer memorable listening experiences for the whole family -- albums where uncompromisingly great performances are woven into enchanting narratives, supplemented by expanded commentary and activities in beautifully illustrated, 24-page program booklets. Maestro Classics proudly announces the December 6 release of the company’s ninth CD, a sparkling rendition of Stravinsky’s masterpiece for narrator and chamber ensemble, L’Histoire du Soldat, retold for today’s young audiences as The Soldier’s Tale (Maestro Classics, $16.98, for ages 8+ and families, run time 55 minutes).
L’Histoire du Soldat, is one of a handful of the most important and distinctive musical works of the 20th century. No child should grow up without getting to know this music, and parents who care about their children becoming culturally literate will want to take advantage of this remarkable CD. As produced by Maestro Classics, The Soldier’s Tale surmounts the stereotype that classical music is boring and 20th century music unapproachable. This album is most definitely not boring, and it is unquestionably “listener-friendly.”
The story opens with a soldier named Joseph stopping to rest by the roadside as he walks home to his village. Joseph has just taken out his violin and begun to play when an old man appears, offering to trade a mysterious book that can reveal the future in exchange for the violin. When the old man, who is really the Devil in disguise, convinces Joseph that the powers of the book can be used to gain great wealth, the soldier agrees, and the inexorable wheels of this Faustian morality play begin to turn. Joseph eventually recognizes that he has lost his family and friends, and that money does not bring happiness.
With eminent conductor Stephen Simon directing members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and narration by Yadu (a.k.a. Dr. Konrad Czynski), The Soldier’s Tale is much more than your typical “classical music for kids” CD. Stephen Simon presents valuable information that enhances the meaning of the music. Stravinsky’s music is so accessible that it really isn’t necessary to know anything about the way it was composed in order to enjoy and appreciate its very unique sound. However, with a little background from the Maestro, young listeners can learn a great deal about how this music connects to history and culture. Even though Stravinsky was still a young man when he composed L’Histoire du Soldat, he had traveled widely, spending time in most of the cultural capitals of Europe and Russia, and had already composed music that was world famous. Maestro Simon not only paints a portrait of Stravinsky and his times, he also expands upon exactly what was in Stravinsky’s music that created so much discussion and is still so relevant to what we hear in concert halls today.
Maestro Classics recordings are available at maestroclassics.com, amazon.com, and other major distributors and retailers. In addition to The Soldier’s Tale, the Stories in Music series includes My Name is Handel: The Story of Handel’s “Water Music,” Peter and the Wolf, The Tortoise and the Hare, The Story of Swan Lake, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Casey at the Bat, and Juanita the Spanish Lobster (also available in Spanish).
Let me start off by saving, once again, BRAVO to Maestro Classics! They do a magnificent job of making classical works engrossing and exciting for children (adults too!). My boys were captivated by the story and the music accompanying the story was the perfect fit. We had fun trying to identify the different intstruments and A&W especially enjoyed the fact that the main character was a soldier. I think introducing children to all sorts of music is so important...it helps them to express themselves and to find their passions. I fear that children are not often enough exposed to classical music and I think that is so incredibly sad. Maestro Classics is the perfect way to introduce these beautiful pieces of musical history and to help foster a love of classical music. You can pick up your copy of The Soldier's Tale HERE and while you are there be sure to check out the other offerings (we are itching to get Mike Muligan and Hist Steam Shovel next!).
I am so pleased to tell you that one lucky RBM reader will win a copy of The Soldier's Tale. Thanks so much to the sponsor and here is how to enter...
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Posted by Kristin Jordan at 10:36 AM