Friday, December 18, 2009

Maestro Classics - A Review

Product: The Tortoise and the Hare - Stories in Music
M.C. Tortoise and Hare

Price: $16.98/set, $45/3 sets

Company: Maestro Classics

Where to buy: Maestro Classics (1-888-540-2811)

Other titles available:
Casey at the Bat
Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel
Juanita the Spanish Lobster
The Story of Swan Lake
Peter and the Wolf
The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Others available soon:
The Soldier's Tale
My Name is Handel

Brief Overview:
Each set includes an enchanting story set to great music, superb recordings by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, educational tracks describing the creation of the music, composer's lives, musical composition and an innovative activity booklet. (From the company's literature)

In-Depth Look:

Maestro Classics has taken classic stories and set them to music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Seven titles are available. Two more are coming soon. The target age range is 5 years and up. The series has been awarded over 35 national awards.

Each set includes a classic set to music, educational tracks, and an activity booklet.

I reviewed The Tortoise and the Hare. Conducted and composed by Stephen Simon. Narrated by Yadu. Story adapted by Bonnie Ward Simon. The story expands on the original lesson of "slow and steady" in Aesop's Fable. Hearing unique voices help to bring the story to life. The philharmonic adds such a lovely touch: up and down, fast and slow, changing with the moods and emotions. I loved the musical addition. And several studies have shown the added benefits of listening to classical music, especially at a young age. The brochure mentions a few benefits of setting the story to music.

1) Expand listening horizons.
2) Develop listening skills and accumulate musical memories.
3) Encourage adults and children to listen to music together.

The booklet has lots of extra information. One page shows the pictures and names of the instruments in the orchestra. Another section explains the notes, fractions, and time signatures. Another section tells a little about a turtle vs. tortoise and a rabbit vs. hare. Some activities are a dot-to-dot, song from CD, word jumble, and acrossword puzzle. A short bio is included for the conductor, composer, executive producer, and narrator.

Total running time of this CD is approximately 53 minutes. There are 7 tracks.

1) The Tortoise and the Hare 20:43
(Plays the story)
2) About the Story 2:49
(Talks of the original tale)
3) Pretzel Vendor of Paris Song 2:06
(A cute song)
4) About the Music 4:49
(Tidbits about the symphony)
5) Now That You Know a Little More 20:43
(Plays the story again)
6) Want to Have Some Fun? Prepare to Perform :35
(Prepare for sing-along)
7) Pretzel Vendor of Paris Sing-Along 2:06
(Sing-Along of the cute song)

I liked the cd, the story and the music. The moral of the story was an additional bonus. The extra "tidbits" on the cd were interesting. I found it enjoyable to listen to this CD. My children didn't enjoy it as much; I think they would have enjoyed one geared towards an older age group more. But I think younger children would enjoy it very much.

My only complaint: When mentioning the time frame for Aesop, the narrator refers to BCE instead of BC. This is one of my pet peeves. In case you haven't heard, there is a move to switch from BC (Before Christ) and AD (in the year of our Lord) to BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era). In the Year of our Lord has worked just fine for 2000 years. An attempt to change it now is upsetting to me. Granted, I realize the producers of the CD didn't come up with the new term, but they did make a decision to use it.

To see what other crew members thought, click here.

Disclaimer: I received this CD free of charge to review, as part of the TOS Crew. The above is just my opinion. Please remember that opinions may, and do, vary.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kimberly,

    This is a belated thanks for the wonderful review of our Tortoise and the Hare CD. I just wanted to let you know that since you reviewed our CD we've made a Facebook page so that our fans can participate in monthly giveaways (we have a big one coming up for the full 8 CD set!) and get coupons. We'd love to invite you and your readers to join our page or check out our new free homeschool music curriculum guides and thanks again for the lovely review!

    Maestro Classics