Music for Children (Schulwerk)


This is quite simply some of the most beautiful children's music ever made, with simple melodies and forgotten rhymes building gradually into more complex roundels and speech exercises. Performed by children in the late 1950s, this wonderful recording is educational, darkly nostalgic, and enchanting. History: This is the first time these important recordings have been in print since 1957. Their origins go back to the 1920s and the G√ľnterschule in Munich, a progressive educational academy that specialized in music and exercise. Carl Orff was a teacher there, and worked on a new method of introducing children to music. Over the next few decades the "Orff Method" was developed and enhanced with the help of one of his former students Gunild Keetman. By the late 1950s the term "schulwerk" (literally "schooling" or "school work") had been adopted and with the inclusion of nursery rhymes and street cries it had spread across Europe as a popular education technique. A two LP recording was issued in Germany in 1957 to demonstrate some of the musical results -- this was followed by a pair of LPs issued in the UK, that were to include the music as well as early English nursery rhymes, songs and sayings. It is these recordings that are being issued here, along with the original and rare sleevenotes. The music is performed on what has since become known as "the Orff instruments": glockenspiels, xylophones, metallophones, drinking glasses, violoncello, bells, cymbals, drums, and the triangle. Rhythmic exercises are executed by hand-clapping, knee-slapping, feet-stamping, as well as using drums, whips, sand-rattles, and other percussion instruments. The spoken word is used for its meaning, its tone-color and rhythmic significance. Nursery rhymes familiar to most of us form a strong base to the album, but there are some here that you may have never come across before. Many of these date back to the 18th century, and Trunk also includes here the oldest song of all -- "Sumer Is Icumen In." Not only is the music absolutely captivating for adults and children alike, the CD comes with extensive 16-page sleeve notes explaining the origins of the songs and sayings. These are magical, rarely heard (and occasionally scary) recordings from the 1950s that highlight just how beautiful the simplest of all music can be. But the release also shows how incredible children's musical education once was. Performers: Chorus of the Children's Opera Group, Speech Ensemble from the Italia Conti School, and The Instrumental Ensemble.