well-filled disc is, in spite of the title, definitely not only
for children, although I would think that many children
will be fascinated by both the titles and the actual music.
Some of it is clearly written for children, like Schumann’s
collection Album für die Jugend and Bartok’s For Children,
while for example Villa-Lobos’s A Prolo do Bebę (The
Baby’s Family) is rather written about children. Other
pieces may have no immediate connection with the children’s
world at all but are definitely accessible to children, provided
that the music is introduced in an appetizing way, and that
way is rarely the musicological way. The booklet notes here
by Max Harrison are very good, very informative but hardly intended
for children and if there is something I would have wished that
is a children-oriented introduction, probably with pictures.
But I suppose Hyperion’s production team trusted that buyers
would use their own imagination and pedagogical skill to provide
the necessary introduction into this fascinating world. And
it is indeed a whole world, spanning more than 250 years and
a large part of the European continent – plus South
is a collection full of variety and it is very well played.
Livia Rév adopts generally lively tempos throughout but plays
with the utmost delicacy and since the 20-year-old recording
is fresh and life-like – could have been made yesterday – nobody
needs to hesitate on these grounds. As a recital, played in
its entirety from beginning to end it is also very satisfying.
There are in toto 33 pieces, most of them short (only
Mozart’s variations on “Twinkle twinkle little star” and the
concluding Miniature Variations by Matacic exceed 5 minutes)
but still the recital doesn’t feel chopped up. For the general,
grown-up listener it is also nice to get, besides more or less
well-known music by the “big” names, pieces by Villa-Lobos,
Jolivet (when did you last hear something by him?), Prokofiev
and not least two contemporary composers who were completely
new to me, Milosz Magin and Janez Matacic. And attractive music
a youngster appears in my listening room it will be a pleasure
to treat him/her to some Daquin, Tchaikovsky or Bartók. Just
as often I will serve my adult visitors with delectables from
this disc. A winner in all respects.