Creatures of fantasy, folklore and religious tradition from the Fairy-Queen to the Firebird provide an intriguing introduction to classical music.
Here’s an appealing gallery of 20 fantastic characters depicted in music. There are elves and witches, trolls and skeletal dancers, ghosts and blessed spirits, a sorcerer’s apprentice, a sugarplum fairy, the devil and more. Each is presented in a few short paragraphs headed by the musical piece’s title, genre and composer. The text, smoothly translated from Spanish, often includes something of the background and story of the piece. These words are set against watercolor images featuring surreal and stylized figures. An accompanying CD presents the music: short, relatively familiar selections from Purcell in the 17th century to Ligeti in the late 20th. These range from solo songs and choruses to piano and orchestral pieces, recorded by well-known musicians. Some, like Schubert’s “Der Erlkönig” and Wagner’s “Valkyrie” prelude, are complete; others are just a familiar excerpt. (The text of Goethe’s poem “The Elf King” is reproduced without credit.) Most are under 2 minutes. These pieces have been well-chosen to demonstrate the range and variety of classical music and its performers. Extensive, informative backmatter describes each selection and composer and includes a timeline and glossary.
Second in a series by a classically trained Mexican pianist that began with Listen to the Birds (2013), this will be welcomed by teachers, music-loving parents and their children. (Informational picture book/CD. 7-12)