Various Artists

Classic Children's Songs

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Most of the children's songs collected here are more likely to be familiar to the British children who now have grandchildren of their own than to the average youngster of the early twenty-first century. It's more probable that contemporary children will have some familiarity with the poems on which the songs are based. The authors, who include Edward Lear, Robert Louis Stevenson, A.A. Milne, Rudyard Kipling, Lewis Carroll, Walter de la Mare, Kenneth Grahame, and J.R.R. Tolkien, are likely to be known to those who've had access to a collection of classic children's poetry, or who have explored the writers' novels or stories. The composers range from the entirely obscure to the very well known, including Benjamin Britten and Charles Ives (whose Slow March, a description of a pet's funeral is, perhaps surprisingly one of the most melodically memorable songs in the collection.) For the most part, the songs are pleasantly but somewhat blandly lyrical, and not easily singable -- not the kind of music most children are likely to get excited about. There are some exceptions: Harold Fraser-Simson's A.A. Milne settings, Vespers, and Buckingham Palace, are genuinely tuneful and charming, and the latter has a sly humor and oddness that might even get the attention of the most jaded modern child. Generally, though, the collection is likely to have the strongest appeal for the adults who knew some of these songs from their own childhoods. Baritone Roderick Williams and soprano Elizabeth Atherton, accompanied by pianist Ian Burnside, perform with admirable directness, with neither condescension nor sentimentality.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:07
2 2:35
3 3:13
The Land of Counterpane, song cycle, Op. 451
4 1:28
5
2:29
6
1:17
Dream-Songs, song cycle for chorus a cappella
7 2:48
8 1:38
9 2:37
10
0:28
11
1:56
12
0:33
13
3:01
14 2:38
The Just So Song Book, song cycle
15 3:00
16 2:32
17
2:47
18
2:35
19
0:59
20
1:15
21
2:26
22
2:02
23 1:30
24 4:30
A Child's Garden of Verses, for voice & piano
25
1:27
26 1:47
27
1:27
28 1:47
29
4:56
30
1:30
The Road Goes Ever On, song cycle
31 3:03
32
1:17
Three Songs, for voice & piano
33
0:59
A Child's Garden of Verses, for voice & piano
34
1:35
35 3:18
blue highlight denotes track pick