Maestro Classics –
The award-winning new classical music CD series for children and families combines classic stories with great symphony orchestra music.
As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I received the Tortoise and the Hare CD to review. The compact disc is 54 minutes long and consists of the telling of the story with accompanying music. The music is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Stephen Simon. The story is narrated by Yadu. Following the story is a brief explanation of the story. Then the conductor describes how he composed the music and why he chose the specific instruments to represent the different animals in the story. This is followed by a duplicate retelling of the story with the admonition to pay closer attention to the music accompanying the story. Finally, there is an opportunity for the child to sing a song from the story (The Pretzel Vendor of Paris) with a track of the accompanying music with no lyrics.
Included with the CD is a small booklet. The booklet contains photographs of musical instruments and their seating positions in a typical orchestra. There is some general information about music including the names of notes, rests, and time signatures. The booklet also contains information comparing tortoises to turtles and hares to rabbits. Finishing the book are some activity pages (dot-to-dot, crossword, etc.) pertaining to the story.
My kids all like to listen to a wide variety of music including classical music. They also like to listen to audio books, so this is a great combination for us. The story of the Tortoise of the Hare is not very long, so it has been expanded with extra details. I think they did an excellent job making the story humorous while keeping to the message of the original fable. The CD is completely professional, the music is fantastic, and the narrator has a pleasant voice. While the story itself is probably more suitable for my 7 and 3 year olds, the section on how the composer wrote the music and chose the instruments is excellent for all ages. This is a terrific resource.
Maestro Classics currently offers the following titles (in addition to the Tortoise and the Hare):
The Story of Swan Lake
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Casey at the Bat
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Juanita the Spanish Lobster
Juanita la longosta espanola
By Kristen H.