Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Coming Soon!

I love audio books, but hate it when there's random music in the middle that often disrupts the mood created by the narrator/author. I mean, the author never intended it to be there and it can often take away from their words. There is an exception though...

Ever heard Peter and the Wolf, where the instruments are orchestrated to illustrate the characters and action in the story? I don't remember the first time I heard Peter and the Wolf, but I do remember it being a calming and thoughtful performance -- even more so than the cartoon. I've always wondered why the orchestration of Peter and the Wolf seemed to be the only one of its kind for so long. That is changing.

The holidays are fast approaching us and we are getting tons of winter-holidayish books (more on that next month) coming into our store. Over the holidays, we will also be increasing our children's audio selection and be bringing in a few more music cds.

A few weeks ago, when I was at NEIBA (New England Independent Booksellers Association conference), I was introduced to Maestro Classics. After listening to their demo of Peter and the Wolf (a slightly different version than I grew up with), I was eager to go home and listen to the cd of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, buried on my to-read-shelf. I loved it! Over the past week alone, I have listened to the story several times. The opening of the story, with Irish-pipes, guides the listener into the story and lets them imagine the scenery of a countryside. There are also hints of well known folk songs throughout the orchestration to create the mood of different areas. Sounds of machines and airplanes and steam are created by instruments of the orchestra.

In all, there are seven tracks on the cd. Besides the story itself, there is great information on the author, an original song about Mike Mulligan, and a quick talk on why the conductor chose the musical elements and sounds that he did. Here, music is for story telling, imagining, and creating a drama that extends beyond words.

Maestro Classics bring great story telling and music appreciation to children's (and parent's) ears. There are audio clips on their website, here. Other titles available: Sorcerer's Apprentice, The Story of Swan Lake, Casey at the Bat, The Tortoise and the Hare, and more. Keep a watch out for them in our kids' audio section.

1 comment:

--mcc said...

Nice post! I like audio books too. And getting the perfect voice can make all the difference. For example...

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S. Thompson), performed by Jim Jarmusch, Maury Chaykin, Harry Dean Stanton and many others. Includes music and sound effects, more of a dramatization than an audio book.

On the Road (Jack Kerouac), read by Matt Dillon. A great vocal choice with more range than expected.

Motherless Brooklyn (Jonathan Lethem), read by Steve Buscemi, who is so good that I can't see anybody else in the eventual film role (Edward Norton be damned).

Lush Life (Richard Price), read by Bobby Cannavale. The perfect New York voice for a great New York story.