With water being essential to life itself, it should come as no surprise that as long as we have been composing music to express our experiences, water has been a recurring theme. The Secret Mountain publishing, who have brought us several gorgeous hardcover books with accompanying CDs have just produced another in their series of “An Introduction to Classical Music” entitled Amazing Water.
This new collection is carefully curated to include music as old as that of Giacomo Carissimi who lived and died in the 17th Century all the way up to the current day with George Crumb and Mario Lavista, both of whom are still alive. The pieces are truncated from larger works when necessary, to make this an easier listening and learning experience for the audience with no piece longer than 4 minutes. This provides a bite-sized taste of what the composers offer, and is just enough to make the piece memorable. Each segment is just the water, so to speak, the part that fits the theme of this collection.
What listeners (of all ages) will find interesting with this collection is how many different ways and with how many different instruments water is expressed by the composers. This is a great opportunity to talk with your children about what they are hearing and encourage active and attentive listening. (Don’t we all want our children to be better at that?) Some questions to consider to enhance the experience:
- what instrument (or instrument family) is being used to represent water in this piece?
- what instrument (or instrument family) would you use to represent water if you were composing?
- what is the mood of the water?
- how would you draw the water from what you hear in the music?
- how would you dance to this?
- how do the composers differ in the way they wrote for water?
- how does the music change with the different time periods?
You don’t have to know anything about music to appreciate this collection, it is so well curated. The pictures in the accompanying book, as well as composer’s bios and background information for the pieces provide a rich learning experience regardless of your prior knowledge. Several of the tunes you may already recognize from hearing them in other settings.
Bonus: in some future restaurant when you say, “isn’t this The Moldau? I just love the way Smetana gave life to the scenes along the river,” you get to feel pretty darn smart.
One lucky reader will win this beautiful book/CD combo!
US and Canadian residents only, please.
I received this product free of charge for the purpose of this review.
This has in no way affected my opinion.
The opinions presented in this review are mine and have been written in my own words.