Friday, February 10, 2012

Soldiering Through Classical

Play It, Maestro!

Classical is a hard (musical) nut to crack.

Maestro Classics seeks to ease that burden for music-conscientious adults (like us). Established by Bonnie and Stephen Simon, Maestro Classics uses the London Philharmonic Orchestra to provide child-friendly, fun-filled stories and musical explanations. Bonnie is the former executive director of the Washington Chamber Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Stephen produced 25 years worth of beautiful performances as the music director of the same organization and is a prominent symphony conductor.

For their latest entry, Maestro Classics takes on The Soldier's Tale by Igor Stravinsky (story by C.F. Ramuz). The 36-minute main track can be played while kids follow along with the illustrated booklet with artwork by Birgitta Sif.

For the video/iPad generation, these CDs offer education on many different levels. The Simons take Stravinsky's story of Joseph, the young soldier, and bring it to life with all the passion and artistry of the London Symphony Orchestra. The tale gets boiled down with a modern tweak and a techno beat in "The Amazing Baz Dance Remix" which follows the performance.

The CD concludes with separate tracks that discuss the composer (Stravinsky) and his musical composition. Young aspiring composers will be fascinated to learn how no matter how the world changes, some things remain the same in the realm of music.

Maestro Classics is not reserved for composers from bygone days. While Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" seems an obvious companion piece, they also cover Virginia Lee Burton’s classic American storybook "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel" and Ernst Lawrence Thayer's "Casey at the Bat."

With Maestro Classics, parents can start investing in a rounded musical education that doesn't start with Adele and end with Ziggy Marley.
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