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Story of the Orchestra : Listen While You Learn About the Instruments, the Music and the Composers Who Wrote the Music! Hardcover – October 2, 2000
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Orchestra Bob guides readers through a delightful musical journey. The book is divided into two major parts: composers from Vivaldi to Bernstein and their associated musical periods, and the instruments of the orchestra. There are interesting and sometimes humorous bits of information about the men, their music, and corresponding historical events. The last two pages introduce the conductor. Quotations, boxed definitions, and the captions that accompany the colorful photos and spot cartoon drawings enhance the instructive text. In some places, however, the drawings are in stark contrast to the photos and take away from the overall appearance of a page. An accompanying CD provides musical selections for readers to listen to at specific places in the text. These selections are short enough to keep young listeners' attention. Although some well-known figures, such as Handel, Schubert, and Strauss, are missing, this is a fun way to travel through the world of music.
Susan Shaver, Hemingford Public Schools, NE
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-7. Orchestra Bob--a dapper figure in a dove-gray tux--introduces young people first to the development and history of orchestral music and a number of famous composers and then to the instruments of the orchestra by section. Each page or two is keyed to a brief selection on an accompanying CD that illustrates the musical idea or instrument discussed. Text and images are extremely lively: the drawings are whimsical and often amusing; the photographs of the individual instruments are clear and clearly labeled. Text rarely extends for more than a paragraph or two before a box, a quote, or a related comment appears, making the pages very inviting. Children will absorb how various instruments are held and played. Levine relates the sound and sense of music in ways children will respond to easily: a quote describes the double bass as sounding like chocolate. The CD excerpts are crisply presented--one would wish to know who recorded them. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Also, the text does not cover the essentials of each instrument. It puts them in categories (brass, percussion, etc.) but does not identify what these families mean, what they have in common or what makes each instrument distinct within their category. It includes silly things about composers, like what they looked like (Debussy had horns...who knew? and who cares?) and very little of substance.
The only alternative I can think to recommend is Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, a piece of music that separates the instruments and families so kids can hear what they sound like in isolation before being expected to pick the sound out of the texture.
This week, we learned about Igor Stravinsky and his "Rite of Spring." My daughter liked the dissonance found in the piece and we were intrigued to learn how many people in the audience hated it when it first premiered in Paris and how the theatre was in an uproar. My daughter likes to compose her own music on the keyboard and this week, I've noticed that she is experimenting with throwing some dissonance into her playing because of this lesson. :)