Various Artists

Listen, Learn, & Grow: Playtime

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This collection of classical favorites serves as a pleasant alternative to much of the music made available to children. Where many albums in the genre can be grating for adults, this is one of the many children's albums made in 2000 and 2001 that gives in to the notion that classical music can be enjoyed by all ages. Abandoning the simplistic keyboard format of most children's music, these are lush arrangements performed by full orchestras. Child-friendly classics like "Pomp and Circumstance" and "Overture (From William Tell)" sit next to dark, complex songs à la "Ride of the Walykries" and "Flight of the Bumblebee." The idea that children can enjoy good music, despite its occasional gloomy overtones, is one of the features that makes this stand out. And unlike many classical collections, the songs are presented in their entirety, with some songs going over six minutes long. Parents interested in furthering their children's cultural horizons need not look any further -- this is one album that does not disappoint.

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