Katerina, heroine of Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery in the same Classical Kids CD series, has accompanied her grandfather, the Duke, to London. While there she meets and befriends a rather jolly composer and musician named G.F. Handel as well as a rather melancholy boy treble named Thomas. The storyline reeks of melodrama and is chock-a-block full of Dickensian coincidences critcal to the plot. All that sniffy stuff aside, however, this is another effective and enjoyable introduction for kids to a wonderful composer's work. The disc explores many aspects of Handel's output, humorously describes dealing with a difficult diva, hints at the sometimes uneasy relationship between artists and patrons; it also pokes fun at class stereotypes. While the story does not flinch at some of the uglier aspects of 18th Century London (poverty, the plight of orphans, drink and lawlessness) it does not overwhelm the sensibility of listening children. My four year old son has listened to this CD more...
This Classical Kids story stars Katarina, from Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery. Having returned with her grandfather to London, she is attending a party when she meets the great composer George Frideric Handel. They're drawn together by a boy named Thomas, an orphan with the voice of an angel who never speaks and is rented by the cruel "Keeper" as entertainment. In trying to free Thomas from his slavery, convincing him to speak, and practicing with the orphans who will be singing Handel's Messiah, Katarina and Handel travel all over London, to operas and taverns, to orphanages and parks. It rises to a peak in the end with the joyful Hallelujah chorus. The music in this is wonderful, and I can honestly say that at 16 I love this as much as I did when I first got it (and that was probably more than 6 or 7 years ago). The plot is a nice vehicle to introduce people of all ages to the beauty that is the heart of all Handel's compositions, and I'd recommend it to everyone, regardless of age...
We love the cd's in this series. We listen to them on car drives and they have added so very much to our lives. Thanks to this series my 7 year old daughter can recognize the compositions of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi while listening to the classical station on the radio. What a fun way for a family to become familiar with classical music.
But the story line of this one is a bit too sad for small children. If the cd had a warning, something like " best for children over 9 years old", or something like that I would have appreciated it. My daughter became quite frightened listening to the story and so I put it away. Maybe in a few years.....
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