Saturday, April 13, 2013

Music For Children

Recorded in 1958 and originally issued across two long playing lp’s, these recordings of Schulwerk or ‘elemental music’ performed by the Children of the Italia Conte School, the Children’s Percussion Ensemble and Chorus Of The Children’s Opera Group are simply some of the most beautiful musical compositions I’ve ever heard. ‘Music For Children’ was borne out of Carl Orff’s progressive ideas regarding the educational development of children through ‘active’ learning. Originating in the early 1930’s when Orff and his assistant Gunild Keetman were in charge of musical instruction at Günter Schule in Munich, Orff encouraged pupils to develop a practical understanding of rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, form and the beauty of sound through music, dance and gymnastics. Many of the compositions included within this collection stand testament to his singular educational vision and the way in which his creative use of intuitive learning could transform a classroom into a place of wonder and enchantment. The music is evocative, magically transfigured by the simplest of means with poems, rhymes, games, songs and dances spoken or sung with the barest of musical accompaniment. Wooden xylophones and metal glockenspiels create simple modal ostinatos which hover and shimmer in bewitchingly seductive patterns. Complex rhythmic patterns are stamped or clapped out using non-pitched percussion instruments such as hands, drums, sticks, or bells. The results are startlingly beautiful. Compositions were developed through playful and intuitive experimentation, children were actively encouraged to explore musical possibilities through play and improvisation rather than through any restrictive or formal educational process. This music breathes an innocence out of step with our modern world. Another sublime Trunk release.