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A Fairy Fantasy - Music and Verse of Fairyland Box set

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Audio CD, Box set, March 4, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

A fantastic 2 cd box set for lovers of music and poetry inspired by fairies

Fairy Music

Classical music by great composers inspired by fairies. Music inspired by fairies and fairy tales, from the magical soundworld of Mendelssohn's Scherzo from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' to Tchaikovsky's 'Nutcracker', fairy tales from Rimsky Korsakov's 'Sheherazade', and Debussy's evocative 'Dance of Puck'.

Over hill, over dale, Through bush, through briar, Over park, over pale, Through flood, through fire, I do wander everywhere, Swifter than the moon's sphere....
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Fairies and mythical creatures have inspired musicians around the world through many centuries. Indeed, myth and magic, kings and queens, princes and princesses form an integral part of the culture and story-telling of most nations. Stories which began as crucial myths for a race or nation have today become children's stories which still fascinate adults.

Elements of fairy stories and the supernatural found their way into many stage works and literature in the nineteenth century, which in turn led composers on new flights of musical fancy. Many of the pieces on this album have their artistic origins in stage works. Mendelssohn's incidental music for 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' was composed at the request of the King of Saxony as part of a series of musical settings for Shakespeare plays. The fairies and mythical creatures of Shakespeare's play (including King Oberon and Queen Titania) are expressed by Mendelssohn in sparkling, brilliant music.

Tchaikovsky's ballets are amongst the best-known classical works of all time. 'The Nutcracker' features several magical figures including the famous Sugar Plum Fairy. 'Sleeping Beauty' has several fairies in the plot, including those most famously developed into rather homely characters by the Walt Disney film of the story. The film score uses Tchaikovsky's extraordinarily beautiful music in a rich arrangement including a famous song developed from the waltz (track 16).

Debussy's famous prelude (track 10) tells the story of a faun (a small, mythical rural creature with horns and a tail) dreaming in a summer field. The work is based on a poem by Mallarmé and was first heard in 1895. The 'Dance of Puck' is one of a dozen impressionistic piano preludes which Debussy composed in the early years of the twentieth century. The dance is a wonderful evocation of the free and unpredictable spirit of Puck, the court jester to Oberon and Titania. Rimsky Korsakov's 'Sheherazade' was inspired by tales of myth and magic from the '1001 Nights', a collection of stories told by the slave girl Sheherazade to amuse her master and to save her own life.

A Fairy Fantasy - Music & Verse of Fairyland

An atmospheric album of favourite poetry and music on the theme of fairies, including famous music by Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Purcell, and poetry from Shakespeare and Herrick, read by Margaret Howard. Children will love it, but so will the grown-ups!

Disc: 1
1. Scherzo from a Midsummer Nights Dream - Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
2. Little Overture - The Nut Cracker Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
3. March - The Nut Cracker Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
4. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy - The Nut Cracker Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
5. Russina Dance - The Nut Cracker Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
6. Arab Dance - The Nut Cracker Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
7. Chinese Dance - The Nut Cracker Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
8. Dance of the Reed Flutes - The Nut Cracker Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
9. Flower Waltz - The Nut Cracker Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
10. Prelude a l après-midi d un faune Claude Debussy
See all 17 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. The Dance of Puck Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Martin Souter
2. The Little Land from A Child's Garden of Verses and Underwoods Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
3. Starlight WaltzThree-disc symphonium
4. Over hill over dale William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
5. Fairy Dance from The Faerie Queene Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
6. If you see a fairy ring Anonymous
7. Greensleeves Anonymous/Folger Dowland Lute Book Lynda Sayce & Matthew Spring
8. Oberon's Feast Robert Herrick (1591-1674)
9. Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)Bamberg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christian Rainer
10. I know a bank William Shakespeare
See all 26 tracks on this disc

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