The BSO has an upcoming family concert entitled Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage. Now, everyone knows I am not Mozart’s biggest fan, but this one has me super excited because it’s part of the Classical Kids franchise.
I am always amazed when I discover classical musicians who are unfamiliar with these titles, and yet I encounter so many. Although clearly they’ve branched out, they at least originated as sorts of “radio plays” that taught the stories of great classical composers. Guys, I grew up on Classical Kids. Seriously. My parents used to play them on long car rides to make me sit quietly, and on I think it was Saturday mornings (or maybe Sunday?) the old classical music station WGMS would air one.
Okay, they were heinously apocryphal – although the details of the composers life were accurate, the stories themselves were works of fiction – but you couldn’t ask for a better way to be introduced to scads of classical music all at once. I would not know Mozart’s The Magic Flute a quarter so well as I do now if not for the Classical Kids version, even if it was translated into English and even if they did add some time-traveling kid and a tiny dragon. The point is, the music was stamped into my brain, and I’m fairly certain that’s precisely the point of the whole program.
I don’t know how many new titles have been developed since I was little, but the ones I remember featured the aforementioned version of The Magic Flute, Renaissance music, Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Tchaikovsky, and of course, my old friend Beethoven.
Indeed, Beethoven Lives Upstairs was unanimously voted by my family as the best (it was even made into a TV movie). And so, when I heard about the BSO’s Classical Kids concert, I was plunged into a fit of nostalgia and immediately hightailed it to iTunes to download away. It was there, thankfully, and I’m quite giddily looking forward to listening to it at the gym tonight (this may be one of the music-geekiest things I have ever typed). The only thing that makes me sad is that none of the other tracks appear to be available. Maybe I can locate them by some other means.
Regardless, they obviously work. The Classical Kids programs, I mean. I remember being engaged in the story and the music, but I never felt talked down to, as I feel bad children’s music programming sometimes does. Even my parents enjoyed them.
So if you have a small and impressionable child, I encourage you to take them to see Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage. It’s on Saturday, January 30, at 11 am at the Meyerhoff, and as always the BSO Family Fun Zone starts up at 10 am. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
Hmmm. I may have to perform some more in depth reviews of my old favorites. I’ll see how my beloved Beethoven story has held up over time.
P. S. Classical Kids people, you don’t have a Wikipedia page that I could find. What’s up with that?