THE BEST OF CHILDREN'S CLASSIC CONCERTS, vol 2: Fascinating Rhythms, introduced by Atarah Ben-Tovim. CD pound;11, tape pound;8 plus pound;1 pamp;p from Children's Classic Concerts, 537 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G3 7PQ
The content of the first disc from Children's Classic Concerts, released some years ago, was largely dictated by the availability of recordings that were out of copyright.
So it is good to be able to report that Volume 2 has succeeded where its predecessor failed. The recordings, all 19 little clippings from masterworks great and small, are of good audio quality.
The music has been carefully chosen not just for immediate appeal but also to suggest the wider world of real music lurking beyond the realm of bite-sized chunks. Not only that, but plentiful voice-overs give the music and narration a more seamless feel.
It was, however, a mistake to record Atarah Ben-Tovim in her bathroom. Perhaps it was thought that the dry atmosphere of a proper studio would appear too remote from the music, but radio producers discovered long ago that any attempt to simulate being there, when you are not, requires great technical skill and an actress better than Atarah. In any event, the harsh acoustic that surrounds the narration makes for unrelaxing listening.
But perhaps relaxation is not what it's all about. My daughter seized on some of the faster music, in particular Offenbach's Can-Can, as an excuse to tear around the sitting room scattering cushions. My slightly older son heard that Mozart wrote his first composition at the age of four and immediately set about scattering crochets on a sheet of manuscript paper. Both of them swoon to the Trumpet Voluntary and Atarah's comparison of Mendelssohn's wedding march to a triple-decker sandwich has revolutionised tea time.