This blog is my attempt to document our busy but BLESSED lives raising and educating our children for His glory. A child of God, wife to one, and mom to 6 fabulous kids. We are in our 9th year of homeschooling using a Classical ~ Charlotte Mason approach.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Maestro Classics: The Nutcracker ~ a TOS review

Maestro Classics Review

A few weeks ago Montana came home from Girl Scouts telling me all about dance and the dance badge her Brownies were working on. Specifically, she raved on and on about how ballet dancers dance “en pointe.” I took the opportunity to tell her all about my favorite ballet, The Nutcracker. That same night the vendor interest form for Maestro Classics came out and you can bet that I jumped at the chance to be on this review.

The girls and I have been big fans of Maestro Classics since we were given the chance to review Peter and the Wolf back in 2011. I was so glad to see this vendor back on the vendor list again this year. Maestro Classics is not just your everyday run of the mill audio story. It’s more than that. These stories are designed so that the classical music brings out the story behind the story for children to understand the whole picture better. As an ambassador of great music for both children and adults alike, Maestro Classics helps listeners experience the classical music art form in new and exciting ways while discovering the magic that can be found within music.

Maestro Classics Review

We received a physical CD set of The Nutcracker based off Tchaikovsky’s famous holiday tradition famously known throughout the world. What makes this audio performance even more special is the fact that Jim Weiss of Great Hall Productions {he also reads The Story of the World} is the narrator. Mr. Weiss retells the story of young Clara who is given a nutcracker on Christmas Eve. As the night goes on The Nutcracker comes to life and turns into a handsome prince who goes into battle with the Mouse King. Clara is escorted by the Nutcracker to the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy this same night and Clara awakes the next morning wondering if it was all a dream.

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Each CD produced by Maestro Classics includes a 24-page program book, that tucks nicely into the CD case. The Nutcracker CD includes 21 musical scores and is just shy of an hour of listening time. It is adapted by Stephen Simon and includes musical selections from every section of the original ballet performance. The London Philharmonic Orchestra brings to life this tale so that you feel as though you are right there in the performance.

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Also included with each CD are fun little activities in the program booklet including a word scramble, ballet descriptions, info about the Russian composer, and a crossword puzzle.

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Each audio series has three significant benefits for listeners:

  1. To expand listening horizons ~ each series of recordings introduces the listener to an orchestra's magical sounds and awe-inspiring power. It helps them to further understand that music can be dramatic, can paint mental pictures, and is often filled with humor.

  2. To hone listening skills and accumulate musical memories~ the musical discussions will sharpen listening skills of children and adults alike. With discussion of the story, conversation will be about human values, and the musical work will leave each listener whistling a new tune.

  3. To encourage adults and children to listen to music together ~ very young will listen for the story, slightly older children will enjoy the music, and the adult will be surprised by how much he/she has learned.

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Currently,there are 12 individual CDs available to purchase from Maestro Classics for just $16.98 each or you can purchase the musical files as MP3 downloads for just $9.98 each. The following stories in addition to The Nutcracker are available:

Peter and the Wolf

The Story of Swan Lake

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

My Name is Handel

Casey at the Bat,

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel,

The Tortoise and the Hare

Juanita the Spanish Lobster

Carnival of the Animals

Juanita la langosta espaƱola

The Soldier's Tale

Merry Pranks of Master Till

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We have listened to the CD 4-5 days each week! One day we kept it on repeat and enjoyed it all morning long. We never tire of hearing these songs. Our favorite score is definitely track #16, Russian Dance. Montana {9}, McKenzie {6}, Micah {17 months}, and I dance around the house on our tippy toes to this score every single time. I know we are not as graceful as ballet dancers, but we have a blast each and every time.

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I have personally never been to the ballet to see The Nutcracker. Every year it seems we have a conflict or a child too young to leave. However, I have already marked our calendar to take the girls to see the The Nutcracker in December 2016 since the girls will be old enough to sit through the performance.

The girls and I have truly enjoyed listening to this CD! Like the other CD’s in our collection we have not been disappointed in the least! I can’t wait to add more titles to our collection, especially since right now Maestro Classics is offering 15% off with the coupon code, FLUTE. These CDs will definitely be accompanying us on our road travels for our upcoming gymnastics travel season. If you are looking to add Classical music to your household and daily routine of listening to quality music, these CD’s are the way to go.

Be sure to check out what my Crewmates thought of each of the CD’s being reviewed by clicking the banner below.

Maestro Classics Review

Company ~ Maestro Classics

Product ~ The Nutcracker

Price ~ $16.98 CD set

Ages ~ recommended age is 5+, but enjoyable for the whole family

Format ~ physical CD

Maestro Classics Review

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