Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ideas for Chldren's Art Songs?

I am in the process of programming a recital for children, and I am surprised by the lack of art music that I can use. There are, of course, the children's songs by Russian composers like Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, etc. But other than that it seems like I am on a wild goose chase.

I have found the few German Art Songs I think would be appropriate (I read through the entire Fischer-Diskau book), and also found several French songs. Does anyone know of any American Art Songs that would be great for kids?

In general, the rules I set for myself were that they have some kind of narrative, and also some kind of character. So songs about an animal behaving in some human way are great (i.e. Die Forelle), or songs in which children could use their imagination. I am trying to steer clear of some of the scarier pieces like Erlkonig.

So, let me know if you have any ideas.

Also, I am brainstorming how to pull off a performance for kids and make it interesting. Any ideas? I know I am going to make it a Saturday afternoon recital so it won't be so late. Also, I was thinking about using power point slides of illustrations/paintings that would play during each song. I will be singing all of the pieces in English, otherwise I am sure that the pieces will go right over their heads.

I think this will be a really fun exercise in performance practice and diction, as the most important goals for me are understandability, entertainment, and communication. And seriously, shouldn't those always be our goals anyway?

I look forward to seeing your ideas!

1 comment:

rcmezzo said...

Okay, I'll try this again, but if I can't do it I will search for your e-mail and contact you that way. I'm not good at posting to blogs, evidently! (It didn't work the first time I tried it).

You need to look into the Frederick Harris Music publishers for their series of graded songbooks. They are Canadian publishers and not only have WONDERFUL repertoire appropriate for kids, it's also a bit less "overused" than the Joan Boytim series of books. Look at and enter "Songbook Series" and see if it pulls up these books. I'd recommend probably volumes 1-2 for sure, and maybe volume 3 too. Email me for more info. Hope all is well! Dr. Christensen