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Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


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summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
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DIETHELM Symphonies

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La Mer Ticciati







CD: Crotchet


Mozart for Kids
Leopold MOZART
Toy Symphony [10:55]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Die Zauberflöte: 4 excerpts K620 [10:01]
Alla turca from Piano Sonata No.11 in A, K331 [3:39]
Finale from Horn Concerto No.4 in Eb, K495 [3:20]
Overture: The Abduction from the Seraglio [6:39]
The Queen of 1001 Nights (Queen of the Night Aria) [3:33]
O, du lieber Augustin [2:36]
Finale from Oboe Concerto in C, K271 (sic) [4:37]
Rondo in D, K485 [5:50]
Minuet from Symphony No.39 in E flat, K543 [4:12]
Finale from Flute Concerto No.1 in G, K313 [6:51]
Leopold MOZART: second movement from Trumpet Concerto in D [5:27]
Philharmonia Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan (Toy Symphony)
Andreas Schmidt, Guy de Mey, Dawn Upshaw, Catherine Pierard, Tessa Bonner, Evelyn Tubb, Caroline Trevor, London Classical Players, Roger Norrington (K543 & K620)
Christian Zacharias (K331)
The Swingle Singers (K495), Francois Leleux (oboe), David Guerrier (trumpet), Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, John Nelson (K271 and Trumpet Concerto)
Alexander Lonquich (piano) (K485)
Alain Marion (flute), Orchestre d’Auvergne/Jean–Jacques Kantorow (K313)
re–issues from various recordings: rec. 1958-2005. ADD
VIRGIN CLASSICS 2361382 [70:21]
Experience Classicsonline

This isn’t Wolfgang for kids, more the Wolf Gang for Kids. That’s the level this disk is aiming at. And I wonder if this will really get children listening to Mozart because it’s all very pretty, with no real meat, and it’s so perfect. In my experience, children respond to something much more abstract – such as Stravinsky (have you ever seen the excitement in a youthful audience when The Infernal Dance of the Subjects of King Kaschei is played? – especially if you’ve just told them that ballet music is always very quiet and they must listen very carefully), or even Varèse’s Poème électronique where there’s nothing to look at; that really gets them thinking.
The jokes in the Toy Symphony are so weak as to be boring. There’s nothing in this piece to get the blood racing. Two excerpts from Zauberflöte would have been better. The famous Rondo alla turca is given by lovely performance by Zacharias until the percussion section enters and as for the Swingle Singers arrangement of the famous finale from the 4th Horn Concerto I am wondering what any children will think should they be sufficiently intrigued to seek out the original versions. The Overture to The Abduction from the Seraglio has added, and continuous, oriental percussion, which is given cadenzas and a prelude and postlude which also includes Muezzin wailing. It’s followed by the Queen of the Night Aria which sounds as if it’s been re–arranged for a Bollywood film. I’d expect to hear something like this as muzak in my local curry house. O, du lieber Augustin is absolutely delightful, as is the finale from the Oboe Concerto, which is actually K314 not K271 as advertised – that’s the 9th Piano Concerto. This bit of poor editing seems to me to be redolent of this compilation – it’s slipshod and insulting to its intended audience. Alexander Lonquich’s performance of the Rondo in D is lovely and unaffected. The minuet from the 39th Symphony is severe and hard pressed.
If this is really supposed to an introduction to Mozart for Kids why didn’t Virgin give us Mozart without additions? I feel that Mozart has been done a grave mis–service here. Where’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik? The first movement of the Piano Sonata, K545? A proper version of the Queen of the Night Aria?  The first movement of the 40th Symphony? The Turkish finale from the 5th Violin Concerto? The minuet from the 41st Symphony, if only for its associations with the Wombles? The first movement of K488.
Am I being churlish? No, I don’t think I am. This is a poor compilation, badly thought out and poorly presented. It’s difficult at the best of times to get kids to listen to classical music in the privacy of their own homes – at concerts things are different – and treating them as intelligent young people rather than talking down to them is a much better path to take. I would recommend all parents wishing to interest their children in classical music to try something more modern to start with, something dynamic such as the Stravinsky already mentioned, and work backwards into more cerebral music.
Bob Briggs


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