Friday, December 16, 2011

Combining Christmas and Composers

This week's Composer Study was wonderful because we got started on the Romantic composers with another of my favorites, Pyotr Ilyick Tchaikovsky.  We began the week by getting an overview of the Romantic era and the new styles and values of the composers.  Then I skipped ahead to Tchaikovsky for two reasons - 1) It's a great time to listen to The Nutcracker; 2) I have an upcoming review of Maestro Classics' Swan Lake that I want to work on.    We learned about Tchaikovsky's life and work from A Young Scholar's Guide to the Composers and Mike Venezia's book in the Getting to Know the Great Composers series.  We listened to selections from a "Best of..." CD I have.  And I could have listened to it over and over, to be honest.  It includes the Piano Concerto No. 1 and the 1812 Overture, which are two of my favorite pieces.  It also featured the beautiful waltz from the ballet Sleeping Beauty, and we realized that the love duet in Disney's animated Sleeping Beauty uses the same theme.  I'm sure I knew that before, because it didn't surprise me - just didn't think about it.  Absolutely beautiful music!

I also happened to have a CD of highlights from The Nutcracker, and we listened to most of that while driving to and from various errands this week.  In our collection of children's Christmas books, we found a retelling of The Nutcracker, so Kennady read that aloud to give us a reminder of the story that inspired the familiar and memorable music.

It seems that Tchaikovsky was another composer that faced tragedy and trouble in his life, and yet produced incredibly beautiful music.  Music that has become familiar to people through Disney's Fantasia, all kinds of Christmas specials, adaptations of his ballets, and inspiration for many pieces by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

We will focus on Swan Lake the week after Christmas.

This post is linked at ~a teaching heart~ where we are keeping each other accountable for making time for music in our homeschooling!

a teaching heart

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