Our Family

Our Family

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Schoolhouse Crew Review: Maestro Classics

Maestro Classics Review
I was first introduced to Maestro Classics back in 2011 when we had an opportunity to review Peter and the Wolf.  My children loved this CD so much and listened to it so many times that they actually wore it out and I had to buy it again!  In 2012 we had the opportunity to review The Story of Swan Lake and in 2014 Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  We have enjoyed each one of these CD's and were excited to have an opportunity to review The Nutcracker.
Maestro Classics Review
Maestro Classics makes it so easy to add classical music to your homeschool.  They have a series of wonderful stories that have been set to great music and are enjoyable to both children and adults.  Each CD comes with an activity guide with activities related to the CD.  They have also started offering curriculum guides that cover subjects such as history, science, geography, language arts, art, music, and math.  You also have have the option to purchase a downloadable version of the music (Mp3) and activity guide (PDF).  

The Nutcracker's music, originally by Tchaikovsky, has been adapted by Stephen Simon who is also the conductor.  It is preformed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with Jim Weiss as the narrator.  In the Nutcracker, Clara is given a nutcracker on Christmas Eve who comes to life.  After battling the Mouse King, the Nutcracker takes Clara to the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy.  The next day Clara wonders whether or not it was all a dream.

The Nutcracker has a total playing time of 58:01.  It has 22 tracks:

1. Overture
2. Christmas Party
3. Children's March
4. Parents Dancing
5. Drosselmeyer's Mechanical Dolls
6. Clara, Fritz, and the Nutcracker
7. Grandfather's Dance
8. Good Night-The Christmas Tree Grows
9. Battle with the Mouse King
10. Nutcracker Becomes Handsome Prince
11. Snowy Walk to the Land of the Sweets
12. Sugar Plum Fairy Welcome
13. Spanish Dance
14. Arabian Dance
15. Chinese Dance
16. Russian Dance
17. Dance of the Reed Pipes
18. Mother Ginger
19. Waltz of the Flowers
20. Sugar Plum Pas de Deux
21. Clara Back Home

Included with the CD is the Activity Guide.  The guide is in full color and contains: a description of each of the scenes, information on the history of ballet, music to the overture, information on the harp, information about Tchaikovsky, a word scramble, a crossword puzzle, and information about the conductor and narrator.

The music CDs can be purchased for $16.98 and the mP3 downloads are available for $9.98. At the time of this posting, The Nutcracker mP3 has a sale price listed of $8.49.  Several of the selections can also be purchased on iTunes.  If you are on Facebook, Maestro Classics shares sales and coupons on their Facebook Page.

I was interested in viewing The Nutcracker because I have loved it since I was a little girl. I actually was in a play of The Nutcracker when I was in first grade.  My two little girls have seen many different cartoon versions of The Nutcracker and I thought they would enjoy it, plus we have a study of Tchaikovsky and The Nutcracker coming up in our curriculum soon so this review gave us a little head start.

My children are 4,6,8,10,11, and 13.  We finally got some rain in Arkansas (yay!) and this CD was great for something to do on a rainy day. When I started the CD, I asked my 4 year old if she recognized the music.  She said, "It's the Nutcracker!"  We loved it!  I have to say that I think this is my favorite from Maestro Classics so far!  This CD would be great for any one who loves The Nutcracker, or those who have never had an opportunity to listen to it before, especially with the upcoming holiday season.  The music is outstanding and the narration was just wonderful.  We look forward to listening to The Nutcracker over and over again!

The activity booklet has some great information and a couple of fun activities for the children.  It is a fun little complement to the CD.  

Members of The Crew reviewed The Nutcracker and Peter and the Wolf.  To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!
Post a Comment