Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Review: Maestro Classics, The Story of Swan Lake

It might surprise some people to learn that my daughters and I have a great love for classical music.  We enjoying listening to it, watching people dance to it, my daughter likes to play it on her piano.  So it was with great delight that we learned that we'd be reviewing Maestro Classics' The Story of Swan Lake.  We love ballet and Tchaikovsky so we waited with great anticipation for this CD to arrive.

About Maestro Classics Stories in Music

There products are so much more than a classical music CDs.  From the company's website:

Our Mission: To cultivate a love of music through education and joyful performances.
Stories in Music™ is the award-winning audio CD series for family listening.  These recordings for narrator and symphony orchestra introduce great music and classics stories and provide the opportunity to develop important listening skills.
Three Major Benefits:
Expand listening horizons.
Our goals are to expand musical horizons, develop listening skills, and encourage parents and children to listen to music together.  Listening to the complex patterns of classical music has been shown to stimulate brain development.  This series makes it fun!
Develop listening skills and accumulate musical memories.
These CDs highlight Stephen Simon’s unique ability to explain how to listen to music.   His joyful music-making, his interest in a broad range of musical styles, and his compositional skills provide entertaining and educational middle tracks.  Bonnie Ward Simon weaves background information on the composer, the work and its place in history, both on the CDs and in the program book.
Encourage adults and children to listen to music together.
Listening is becoming a lost art. We encourage you to take the time to develop this crucial skill and delight in a world of wonderful music.

After listening to our CD many times, I am certain that they are doing a great job with their mission. 

Our Experience

As I mentioned before, we enjoy classical music.  We have been doing composer studies for years and Tchaikovsky is one of our favorites.  It was no surprise that we enjoyed the music.  That was a given for us.  A fabulous recording of a fabulous score performed by a fabulous orchestra?  Can you say London Philharmonic Orchestra?  Oh yeah, they can play.  You can't not like the music.

But it is so much more. You start off with a child-friendly narration a story about a prince who falls in love with a princess who is under spell.  Unfortunately she turns into a swan every evening.  The narration  set to the music from Swan Lake.  It's simply wonderful.  Even my three year old asks to listen to it.

Next you get to enjoy a couple of tracks about the life of Tchaikovsky and some of the musical concepts behind the music.  There is also a funny little sing along theme song for you to enjoy.  And did I mention Speed Metal Swan yet?  This gem is a heavy metal version of the main theme.  It is awesome.  With Joe Stump playing guitar on the track, how could it not be? 

Included with the CD is a wonderful program guide. It includes info on the talent, interesting facts about Tchaikovsky, words and music to the theme song, and fun puzzles.  Not only was my ten year old excited to see that there was music so she could play the theme on the piano but there was a maze too.  Score!  The website also offers a whole host of other educational materials; music teacher lesson plans, homeschool curriculum guides, project ideas.  Simply fabulous!

I have nothing but love for this product.  It was delightful and The Sorcerer's Apprentice, My Name is Handel, and Peter and the Wolf are on my "too be purchased list."  If you enjoy classical music, or want to give classical music a try, I can't recommend this series enough.  Wonderful!


Age Range: 4+
Price: $9.98 for mp3 download, $16.98 for the CD  They are also available on iTunes or Amazon

Click on the Crew banner for more reviews of this great product. 

I received a free copy of this CD for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

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