Brattleboro Reformer

Both teachers and parents of tiny tot ivory-tinklers will be most interested in an unusual CD that has been issued on the Divine Art label, “Piano Music for Children”. Here we have eight sets of children’s piano music by 20 th century composers.

The contents include four of Bartók’s “Ten Easy Pieces”, Stravinsky’s “Les Cinq Doigts” (The Five Fingers), Prokofiev’s “Music for Children”, Shostakovich’s “Children’s Notebook”, Khachaturian’s “Pictures from Childhood”, five pieces from Copland’s “Piano Album”, Webern’s “Kinderstück” and four pieces from Bartók’s “Mikrokosmos”.

Just about everything in this set is new to me, as I am sure it will be to most of you, and that makes the set even more interesting. Now I must admit that some of these selections are a bit short on charm, but pianist Raymond Clarke makes a good case for each of them. As I suggested, piano teachers will certainly want a copy of this program. The booklet is very generous with its backgrounds and analyses of the pieces, and it is especially valuable in pointing out how writing for children’s smaller hands presents unique problems that call for some clever solutions. So while the audience that will really find practical use of this album might be somewhat limited, there are certainly enough teachers, parents and libraries out there that should really have this CD on hand. The rest of us can simply enjoy the music.

—Frank Behrens