A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's nothing objectionable about this family-friendly introduction to some of the best-known classical music and musical standards. But the humorous lyrics aren't just for laughs. Many of the songs use lyrics to educate listeners about the history of the piece, the musical instruments used, and the background of their famed composers as well. All 12 songs are featured both with lyrics and without, so kids can get an introduction to how the music originally sounded.
What's the story?
Take Bach, Beethoven, and Bizet, throw in some Sousa, and add a little Scott Joplin, and you've got a mix of some of the biggest and best composers who've ever lived. Add some off-the-wall lyrics courtesy of Beethoven's Wig producer, vocalist, and lyricist Richard Perlmutter, and you've got BEETHOVEN'S WIG 4: DANCE ALONG SYMPHONIES. With three similar albums under their belts, the singing group follows the formula for this fourth installment, combining witty, pint-sized lyrics with grand classical tunes. But this time around, there's an emphasis on dance, with many of the tracks focusing on various forms of movement, from ice skating to ballet.
Is it any good?
The melodies and arrangements on this CD are time-tested. There's no question that "The Maple Leaf Rag" and "Moonlight Sonata" are easy on the ears. With just a short listen, most parents will have no trouble recognizing these world-famous sounds. But do the lyrics do justice to these awe-inspiring compositions?
The answer is a giddy "Yes!" Perlmutter does a fine job of bringing classical music down to earth, playfully poking fun at these masterpieces. Kids will have a grand time listening to songs that they otherwise might have dismissed as boring. Covering everyday topics such as traffic jams, midnight snacks, and dog obedience, these songs will appeal to parents and kids equally. Lines like "A piece of cake, a piece of pie, I felt so happy that I thought I'd cry, potato chips and popcorn too, and chocolate ice cream and some cheese fondue, I didn't care how much I ate, I put a jelly donut on my plate" make it clear Beethoven's Wig has clearly flipped.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how classical music has survived for hundreds of years. Have you heard any of these songs before? If so, where? On television? Maybe in commercials? Can you make up your own lyrics to go with the music? What instruments do you hear in each song? What do you think of the singers? How is the male singer's voice different from the female singer's?