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Seeing the Nutcracker? Go prepared!

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Is a performance of Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” on your calendar this December? If so, you can make the experience even more meaningful for you kids with a little advanced planning. Check out Tchaikovsky Discovers America by Classical Kids.

Tchaikovsky Discovers America tells the fictional story of real-life composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky running away from reporters with help from two children. The trio takes the train to Niagra Falls. Along the way, they learn about Tchaikovsky’s greatest musical accomplishments, as well as life in Russia.

This production is from Classical Kids, the same company that created Beethoven Lives Upstairs and Mr. Bach Comes To Call. Most of their CDs are available at your local library. But my family owns the entire Classical Kids collection because of  Carschooling. I consider it money well spent!

“Mozart’s Magic Fantasy” Review

For Christmas this year we gave my daughter Jenna(2.5) a copy of “Mozart’s Magic Fantasy”.  I was really surprised when we first listened to it, because it is a clear departure from the other three Classical Kids CDs we have heard; Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Mr. Bach Comes to Call, and Tchaikovsky Discovers America.  Instead of introducing children to the music and biography of Mozart, “Mozart’s Magic Fantasy” is a mixed up retelling of the opera “The Magic Flute“.

To be honest, I haven’t seen “The Magic Flute” in fourteen years, so I certainly do not have a clear memory of the plot-line of the opera.  But just from a cursory refresher from the internet, it seems that although there are overlapping characters and some jumbled plot-lines between “Mozart’s Magic Fantasy” and “The Magic Flute”, the two stories are decidedly different.  That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the Classical Kids version, because it was highly entertaining and definitely put a kid-appropriate story line to the music.

Jenna has listened to this CD three times now, and two of those times were not even in the car.  She likes to put the CD in our DVD player, cuddle up with her baby doll, and listen to the music while sitting on the family room floor.  A two year old choosing to listen to opera?  Now that’s a magic CD!