From Jiang Yazhou:
***The First Music Collection For Children****The album contains 100 tracks from the most familiar and best-loved works for children, performed by many of the worlds leading instrumentalists, orchestras and conductors. CARNIVAL consists of a group of popular works that will stimulate the imagination of every child. It starts with the famous Flight of the Bumble-Bee followed by one of the great childrens classics: Le Carnaval des animaux (The Carnival of the Animals) by Camille Saint-Sans, a grand zoological fantasy which humorously illustrates in music a fine assortment of different animals, including lions, kangaroos, asses, an elephant, a swan and even pianists. Also on the disc is Prokofievs childrens tale Peter and the Wolf, narrated in English by the American violinist Itzhak Perlman, and Brittens clever Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell, subtitled The Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra. TOYS brings together a collection of charming suites about children and their toys by the French composers Faur, Debussy and Bizet, as well as including Leopold Mozarts delightful Toy Symphony, Pierns Marche des petits soldats de plomb (March of the Little Lead Soldiers) and some of the most popular character dances from the ballet The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. NATURE is intended to draw children into the atmosphere of the countryside and experience the sights and sounds of nature. It starts with Morning from Griegs Peer Gynt, that vividly evokes the start of a new day. Also here is Smetanas tone poem The Moldau that depicts the progress of a great river in Bohemia, and the first movement of Beethovens famous Pastoral Symphony in which the composer recalls the awakening of pleasant feeling on arriving in the countryside. Chopins Raindrop Prelude evokes the bleakness of a dull, rainy day, Vivaldis Winter from The Four Seasons paints a vivid picture of snow and ice, and nothing could be jollier than Percy Grainger s two summery pieces: Country Gardens and Shepherds Hey. FANTASY invites the listener to let his or her imagination run free while listening to some of the worlds best-loved descriptive music. The titles themselves are self-explanatory, such as A Midsummer Nights Dream, A Night on the Bare Mountain, Pictures at an Exhibition and Uranus the Magician from The Planets. The disc concludes with one of the most popular childrens pieces of all times LApprenti sorcier (The Sorcerers Apprentice) by Dukas that was memorably brought to life by Walt Disney in his 1940 animated film Fantasia with Mickey Mouse as the meddlesome apprentice. LULLABIES is a disc that will particularly suit young children. It contains a collection of some of the most relaxing classics ever written that will be specially appreciated by children at bedtime as they are preparing to go to sleep. The aptly named Lullaby by Brahms is here, alongside the tranquil slow movement from Mozarts Clarinet Concerto, Chopins soothing Nocturne in E flat, Bachs timeless Air on the G string and many other much-loved relaxing works. DANCE. No child can resist dancing, and this programme covers every kind of dance: from the charming Dance of the Little Swans in Tchaikovskys Swan Lake to the rumbustious Sabre Dance in Khachaturians Gayaneh from the grand formality of the Dance of the Knights in Prokofievs Romeo and Juliet to Widow Simones merry Clog Dance in Hrolds La Fille mal garde. Other works included are The Dance of the Hours from the opera La Gioconda, also immortalised in Walt Disneys 1940 film Fantasia for a hilarious spoof ballet performed by ostriches, hippos, elephants and alligators, Saint-Sans spooky Danse macabre in which the xylophone represents skeletons making merry in a cemetery at midnight on Halloween as death leads the dance on an out-of-tune violin, and Ravels famous Bolero, to which Torvill and Dean skated to Olympic glory in 1984.