Company: Maestro Classics
It was a great pleasure to review "The Tortoise and the Hare: Stories in Music" featuring the London Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the TOS Homeschool Crew. As a family, it was pretty much our first ever experience with books on CD (besides one totally annoying book/CD combo I borrowed from the library last summer). I have to say that it was a WONDERFUL experience for my son and I. Combining a classic story with a delightful new classical score preformed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra is a winning combination.
My 4 year old daughter dismissed this product immediately saying she already knew the story of "The Tortoise and the Hare". However, this CD was so much more that just the classic retelling of a timeless Aesop's fable. Liam was delighted that the story was so much more involved and complex than the one that he was familiar with. The hare who is "exceding proud of his lower extremities", the pretzel vendor of Paris selling his wares at the starting line, Mrs. Beaver and her new French style cafe, and the tortoise whose only desire to make a respectable showing at the race are brought to life by narrator, Yadu (who does a phenomenal job). The "silences" are punctuated with a delightful musical score that portrays each characters personality without words.
In addition to the story (running 20 minutes 44 seconds) the CD also includes information on the original Aesop's fable, the composer (Stephen Simon) discussing how he was able to create a score for the story that fit each character so well, the song "Pretzel Vender of Paris" as well as a sing-a-long of the same song. The informational booklet that is included with the CD includes basic information on music, hares and tortoises (and how the are different from rabbits and turtles, the words and music for "The Pretzel Vender of Paris, as well as puzzles and games for your young student to complete.
If "The Tortoise and the Hare" does not appeal to you then Stories in Music offers a variety of others to choose from. Choices include:
- Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
- The Soecerer's Apprentize
- Swan Lake
- Peter and the Wolf
- among several others you can learn about here.
There are currently 7 titles available for 16.95$US and 3 additional gift box sets (which include a paperback version of the book in addition to the CD package) available for 24.99$US. You can also purchase 3 CDs for 45$US by using coupon code MAESTRO45. To help you make your choice, samples are available on the Maestro website. I personally think that these CD sets would make a wonderful gift and I would be happy to see them under my tree this year! I would also be more than happy to share these CDs with other music lovers on my shopping list. They are delightful, entertaining and just generally really well done!
***Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest review of the product and/or how we used the product within our family. I do not receive any other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.