Charming illustrations and a thoughtful choice of performance examples enhance this deceptively simple introduction to the life and work of Frederic Chopin that emphasizes the singing voice of his piano music.
Like others in the First Discovery series, this entry features Voake's delicate ink-and-watercolor sketches, period illustrations and an accompanying CD narrated by Michael Cantwell. The audio includes excerpts from a broad range of the Polish-born composer’s piano music, from short pieces to sonatas and a concerto, all taken from good recorded performances. In the first section, each double-page spread covers a particular point in the musician’s life and includes a sidebar with further information and suggestions for the musically inclined. A second section briefly describes his compositions. The text is limited, no more than a paragraph per spread, but made more difficult by sentences broken across the pages. First published in France in 1999, this new edition is a joint publication of Moonlight Publishing and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in London. The CD would serve on its own as an audiobook, but Voake’s softly colored drawings and the reproduced paintings, though small, enrich the experience. Claude Debussy, by Pierre Babin, publishes simultaneously and shares this title's strengths.
Attractive to look at, to hold and to hear, this is a good selection for music-making children. (Informational picture book/audiobook. 6-10)