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Kids Classics

Kids' Classics

Vanessa Mae recorded her second classical album "Kids’ Classics" with the New Belgian Chamber Orchestra & conducted by Nicholas Cleobury in Ghent ,Belgium at Studio Steurbaut in sessions that were as full of applause for her as they were of music. In this CD , her versatility in technique and musical styles is reflected in the choice of repertoire and many of the 18 concert show-pieces were specially transcribed by her or for her in a throwback to the dazzling and adventurous virtuoso style first practised by the legendary Paganini (and more recently , by Heifetz and Kreisler)
It features :
1 . Figaro (Castelnuovo-Tedesco/Heifetz)
2 . Liebesleid (Kreisler)
3 . Liebesfreud (Kreisler)
4 . Schon Rosmarin (Kreisler)
5 . La Campanella (Paganini/Kreisler)
6 . Air On The G String (Bach/Wilhemj)
7 . Frere Jacques (James)
8 . Yellow Submarine (McCartney/James)
9 . Salut D'Amour (Elgar)
10. Russian Dance (Tchaikovsky)
11. Lullaby (Brahms/James)
12. Les Parapluies De Cherbourg (LeGrand/Vanessa-Mae)
13. Sumemrtime (Gershwin/Heifetz)
14. My Favourite Things (Rogers/James)
15. One Moment In Time (Bettis/Vanessa-Mae)
16. Tambourin Chinois (Kreisler)
17. Chinese Folk Tune (Sze-Du/James)
18. Pink Panther (Mancini/James)

New Belgian Chamber Orchestra
Conducted by Nicholas Cleobury



This is a most original and dazzling concert transcription by Castelnuovo-Tedesco and his friend, the legendary violinist Jascha Heifetz. Based on the aria ‘Largo Al Factotum' from Rossini's Barber of Seville, the work sparkles with energy and good humour. All the seemingly impossible pyrotechnics were obviously concocted specially to show off Heifetz's superb technique. The two men collaborated on this work to make it a suitably impressive encore to follow Castelnuovo-Tedesco's violin concerto which Heifetz pioneered. The original aria from the opera - sung by Figaro himself - speaks, both impatiently and excitedly of ambition and success. The always slightly ridiculous but likable Figaro is happy that as ‘barber, valet, surgeon, pharmacist, masseur and veterinarian' he is accepted in the homes of the best circles where he can find adventure and intrigue through ‘delicate errands and secret commissions' between ‘elegant ladies and elderly dandies'. The familiar ‘Figaro, Figaro, Figaro' phrase in the aria is also injected humorously into the concert transcription. Heifetz with his own singular sense of humour must have enjoyed this piece very much. He performed it often in concert including it in important recitals at the Carnegie Hall in New York and when visiting London. The only other virtuoso violinist known to have included this piece often and successfully in his concert repertoire was Leonid Kogan.
Liebesleid, Liebesfreud & Schon Rosmarin
Composed by the Viennese violinist-composer Fritz Kreisler, these three pieces make up the collection of ‘Old Viennese Dances' which, according to Kreisler were written in the style of Joseph Lanner (a contemporary of the well-known Johann Strauss the elder) and were in fact programmed as posthumous works of that composer. Indeed, so successful was Kreisler at capturing the essence of early 19th century style, that when he announced that he himself had written the pieces, no one would believe him!
Naturally as these pieces were composed for himself to perform, they are full of his famous charm and gave ample opportunity for him to demonstrate his exquisite style of mixing virtuosity with elegance and grace. In Liebesleid (‘The Sadness of Love') the sentimental mood is hinted at by the use of caressing ‘portamentos' and small ‘glissandos' which coupled with the sensitive ‘vibrate' gives the lilting melody a feeling of poignant wistfulness. In Liebesfreud (‘The Joy of Love') the almost passionate and flamboyant double stops clearly reflect the gaiety and high hopes experienced when one is happily in love. Schon Rosmarin, perhaps most of all, tests the elegance and skill with which the violinist is expected to manoeuvre in and around the long and meandering phrases with a ‘staccato' bow that has to be controlled both in speed and in spirit.

La Campanella
We are all familiar with the adulation that greets many of our modern pop idols and superstars, but the idea that the virtuosi of the 19th century also received such attention might now seem out of place. However, the greatest players of the last century, in whose numbers the Italian violinist Niccolo Paganini can certainly be counted, dazzled and thrilled audiences throughout Europe, sending listeners into raptures with their wizardry and poetry. A first class exhibitionist, whose tall ghostly appearance fuelled speculation that he was in league with the devil, Paganini created a frenzy of excitement whenever he performed. Much of his music, particularly his concerti, was written as a vehicle for his spectacular technique.
La Campanella was a spin-off from the finale of the Second Concerto which Paganini chose to do as an encore for his debut appearance in Vienna. Many 20th century violinists have attempted this work themselves, editing or arranging it to suit themselves as performers or to suit the occasion. Kreisler's version as played on this recording is the most concise and appealing. It retains Paganini's breathtakingly difficult feats in the famous brilliant thirds, tinkling harmonics, flashing octaves and flying ‘spiccatos' but has a fuller accompaniment and a more compact structure than the original concerto movement and it works exceedingly well as a single movement concert showpiece.

Air on the G String
‘Air' means song and found its way into the baroque suite. The well-known Air on the G String - popularised not least because of the air of resignation it lends to a certain television cigar commercial - is in fact the second movement of Bach's Suite No,3 in D Major, for orchestra. Of the four suites that Bach wrote, the third is, in the main, the most grandiose. Although the complete work is scored for double orchestra made up of trumpets, drums, strings, harpsichord and, occasionally, oboes, the famous Air is scored for strings alone, in fact, the Air on the G String though not known or titled as such was also presented by Bach in the German town of Cothen as a work for violin solo with light accompaniment. In the late 19th century and even into the 20th, it was the fashion to transcribe popular pieces for virtuosos to perform on their respective instruments - a fashion which had in fact started in earnest much earlier when Paganini himself found the then existing violin repertoire too limiting for his musical talents. Several violinists began to perform this famous melody but it was Wilhemj who arranged for it to be transposed one tone lower and to be played only on one string. Surmounting the consequent violinistic difficulties is a virtuosic and musical challenge to violinists. The violinist has to keep the melody smooth and breathing gently, as in a ‘song' or ‘air' while the left hand is constantly on the move from position to position on the G String to play all the notes.
Frere Jacques
This exciting new one-movement work for solo violin and orchestra largely in the form of a theme and variations was specially commissioned for Vanessa-Mae. The theme is based on the well-known children's round Frere Jacques, chosen by Vanessa-Mae as one that is universally appealing to children of all nationalities.
The ‘round' with different words is sung by children all over the world and Vanessa-Mae herself learnt it in Chinese as a pre-schooler in Singapore and then in English and French at nursery school in London. Christopher James, whose most recent undertaking before this work, was to ‘arrange' or ‘realise' the Paganini Solo Caprices for Laureate, the virtuoso string ensemble of international prizewinners, found the close study of Paganini's work both instructive and inspirational in the art of writing for the virtuoso violin. The result is a fresh and exhilarating work in four sections, each in quite different moods and modes.
The piece opens as a ‘round' for the orchestra, with the solo violin in ‘perpetuum mobile', starting deceptively almost as an accompaniment to the theme of the round. Very quickly, this deception is cunningly dispelled as the incessant passage work in the solo violin increases in difficulty and drama demanding more and more attention from the listener. The section takes on the character of a electrifying ‘toccata' as the violin solo part gets crisper and faster as if in a keyboard cadenza. The next section is in the farm of a lush romantic waltz - the violin solo soaring gloriously above the orchestra in a nostalgic throwback to the romantic concertos. A short interlude leads into the ‘Andante' section. This is essentially a ‘song' for the violin, first holding the main theme and then playing an ‘obligato' in decorative ‘coloratura' athletic patterns up and down the fingerboard. A solo cadenza takes the whole work into the brilliant ‘Vive' movement where the opposite effect of the opening is slowly achieved as the stunning violin solo part is finally drowned out by the ‘tutti' orchestra. After the ‘tutti' climax, there follows a ‘surprise' solo scale on the violin ending with two defiant chords - like a stubborn child that wants the last word. A soft calm final cadence played by the solo violin and the whole string section is symbolic of the peaceful nature of every child when loving attention is restored.

Yellow Submarine
Yellow Submarine is one of several songs by the Beatles to have attained almost folk-lore status, From the full-length cartoon film of the same name, the song tells of a fairy tale existence beneath the green waves, where a group of friends live a carefree and happy life together in a yellow submarine. The music reflects both the excitement and the fun of their party-time days. It is often sung by school children and is again one that Vanessa-Mae remembers from school in singing classes.
The violin solo part was devised in part by Vanessa-Mae and the famous refrain on the violin starts off with the same octave played three times in succession on different strings and in three different positions. The next phrase reverses the three octaves from the top position downwards - in a ‘take-off' from the middle section of Bazzini's Ronde des Lutins where a similar technique is used though only on a single note, as against an octave here. Harmonics are also used randomly making spontaneous fun with this popular and cheerful tune.

Salut d'Amour
Elgar, the composer who gave us two of the most lyrical string concertos, made the declaration that ‘everything good and nice and clean and fresh and sweet is far away - never to return' when he was writing his Cello Concerto. This declaration speaks wistfully of the happier times celebrated in Salut d'Amour.
Elgar's life as a composer came into full focus with his marriage In 1889 to Caroline Alice Roberts. She gave him encouragement and, in the end, the self assurance he needed to find his individuality as a creative and romantic composer. Salut d'Amour appropriately enough was written as an engagement present for Alice and all the ‘goodness, niceness, cleanliness, freshness, and sweetness' that he wished for and missed later on in life are all present here to be cherished and enjoyed in this almost painfully beautiful little piece.

Russian Dance
From ‘Swan Lake', Russian Dance is sadly often omitted from ballet performances, in spite of the fact that Tchaikovsky himself and indeed his benefactress, Nadia Von Meyck, both loved this piece. It is written as a violin solo with orchestral accompaniment and the piece sizzles with dazzling passage-work with a formidable cadenza. For a full-blooded performance appropriate to the piece and to the brilliance of the Bolshoi's Prima Ballerina, Karparkova. for whom it was written, the piece needs to be performed with panache - velocity in the dashing semiquavers, poise and beauty in the gentle swaying theme and power in the flashy cadenza with its ‘glissando' tenths.
Brahms' charming Lullaby was originally written as a song for mezzo soprano and piano and is the fourth in the Opus 49 collection. Comprising two identical stanzas, the song gently encourages the child to fall asleep imagining itself covered in roses and dreaming of Paradise. The strength of this piece lies in its disarming simplicity, creating an irresistible air of reassurance. The melody is often used in musical boxes and nowadays can quite often be heard in musical mobiles suspended over a baby's cot. In this arrangement, the solo violin first takes the melody ‘con sordino', and in the second stanza, plays a beautiful counter melody with the oboe solo.
Les Parapluies de Cherbourg
The composer of over 70 film scores, from ‘The Go-Between', ‘The Lady Sings The Blues' to ‘Ice Station Zebra', Michel LeGrand has also written a ballet, an opera and several works for piano and orchestra. In 1968 he won an Oscar for ‘The Best Song' with The Windmills of Your Mind, but his greatest success remains the music for the classic ‘tear-jerker' love story, ‘Les Parapluies de Cherbourg' especially the song ‘I Will Wait For You' featured on this recording. Vanessa-Mae arranged the solo violin part and the whole piece is performed with sweeping abandon, the opening theme in the solo violin resumed at the climax in impassioned octaves. The piece ends quietly in hushed sadness.
Summertime is one of the opening numbers of Gershwin's hugely popular ‘Porgy and Bess', adapted by DuBose Heyward from his play about a beggar from Charleston, South Carolina. Like many of the numbers from the opera, Summertime reflects the influence of the lifestyle, music and speech of the black community in that area. The words and the jazz idiom in which the song is written work exceptionally well together to create a relaxed and reassuring mood, brushing aside the cares and worries of a child's life:
Vanessa-Mae plays Heifetz's transcription but interprets it entirely in her own way, leaning towards a ‘jazz' feel with a free and improvisatory approach, in her performance of this famous piece which is loved by classical and jazz music fans all over the world.

My Favourite Things
‘The Sound of Music' is one of the best loved musical movies of all time. Its songs have been sung and hummed by children and adults alike since Julie Andrews first brought them to the big screen. My Favourite Things is an enchanting song that the governess Maria in the story sings to the children when they are upset.
The words: 'When the dog barks,
When the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don't feel so bad'

- sum up the soothing and cheering message of the song. in this transcription, the violin solo part is engagingly delicate with graceful ‘spiccatos' and ‘cantabile' melodies.

One Moment In Time
One of Vanessa-Mae's favourites, One Moment In Time as sung by Whitney Houston, was a recent hit in the pop charts. Vanessa-Mae has made her own arrangement for violin solo with piano accompaniment. In this recording, the piano part has been rearranged for string orchestra by Christopher James. Throughout the piece, the solo violin and the accompaniment share the melody which moves backwards and forwards between them. The solo violin employs ‘glissandos', double-stops and harmonics, retaining authority from beginning to end. Even when accompanying, the solo violin's use of ‘ricochet' chords changing in impressive rapid succession, as in Paganini's Caprice No. 1, set the tempo and mood for the whole orchestra.
Tambourin Chinois
Tambourin Chinois composed by Kreisler for his own performance is again full of ebullient charm and virtuosic brilliance. In the fast sections, the bow hardly ever rests on the strings and both left and right hand are constantly in flight. The challenge here is in combining the need for a strong percussive beat - as in striking a tambourine - and for speed in the running chromatic passages that must shimmer like the little cymbals on the tambourine, To achieve the effect demands an awesome technique in the right hand in coordination with agile fingers in the left hand as all the ‘spiccato' passages have to be taken at a cracking pace. The middle section is slow and lazy and it is easy to imagine the fragrant incense of Chinese joss sticks and the soft sensuous touch of Chinese silk.
Chinese Folk Tune
Originally performed as a duo on two solo 2-string Chinese violins, each held vertically between the legs of a seated musician, this popular folk tune depicts farmers joyfully welcoming the first rain after a drought, The pitterpatter of the rain drops can be heard in the ‘pizzicato' accompaniment and in the jumping bow of the solo violin. From time to time, one can even hear The rumbling of thunder. Overall, the spirit is one of overwhelming exuberant happiness. In this transcription, the characteristic ‘glissandos' of a Chinese violin are demonstrated in Vanessa-Mae's performance and the two originally separate solo parts have been combined into one part using the technique of double-stops.
Pink Panther
The legendary character of the Pink Panther hardly needs introduction, and indeed, the music is as famous - or infamous - as the panther itself. However, this recording is the first version of this - the most laid back of laid back themes - to be played by solo violin as opposed to the more usual saxophone. Whilst retaining the feel of casual indifference and cheeky arrogance so characteristic of this piece, a sense of the Pink Panther's sophistication and ‘elan', whether real or assumed, is brought very much to the fore. The violin solo assumes a gritty. non-classical approach with an air of individualistic extemporisation, as befits that truly individual character, the Pink Panther.
Nicholas Cleobury
Nicholas Cleobury is a highly versatile conductor who has established a considerable reputation both on the concert platform and in opera. He studied with Sir Adrian Boult and was assistant to Leonard Bernstein. He works regularly with many of Britain's leading orchestras including the BBC orchestras, the Bournemouth Symphony and Sinfonietta, the English Chamber, the Halle, the Philharmonia and the Royal Philharmonic. He is Artistic Director of the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra and the Eastern Sinfonia and is also Principal Guest Conductor in Gavle, Sweden.
Abroad, he has worked with various orchestras in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Holland, Ireland, Rumania, Spain and Sweden, notably with the Stockholm Philharmonic, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Flanders Philharmonic.
Nicholas Cleobury has a particular interest in contemporary music and is Artistic Director of the contemporary ensemble Aquarius with whom he has given many performances. He has worked closely with many leading composers including Sir Michael Tippett, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. He has conducted over fifty premieres including three British operatic premieres - Milhaud's Salade, Penderecki's Paradise Lost (Prelude, Vision and Finale) and Kurt Weill's Street Scene. Nicholas Cleobury has also made several recordings with Aquarius, the City of London Sinfonia, the English Chamber Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The New Belgian Chamber Orchestra
The New Belgian Chamber Orchestra was set up in 1985 by the conductor Jan Caeyers. Drawing its members from among the best performers in Belgium, many of them well-known individually as soloists and chamber music performers, it rapidly gained an excellent reputation both in Belgium and abroad for its brilliant concerts with many of the best well-known international soloists and guest conductors. Its meteoric success resulted in the Belgian Radio and Television broadcasting a documentary about the orchestra, which has been followed by regular televised concerts. The composition of the orchestra is largely based on that used to create Beethoven's Third Symphony. This type of structure results in a clearer orchestral sound and a detailed way of playing which is extremely ‘alive' and interesting for soloists. The New Belgian Chamber Orchestra started its life specialising in late 18th and early 19th century music. However, the love of good music and the joy of playing good music have combined to make the orchestra extend its boundaries into contemporary music and an occasion, to include unusual ‘cross-over' music of the highest musical calibre, as in their recording work with Vanessa-Mae, whose repertoire covers a very wide range.
The NSPCC works to protect children from abuse and neglect. The NSPCC's nationwide network of Child Protection Teams helps children and families overcome the devastating effects of abuse and works to protect them from further harm.
The NSPCC campaigns to increase public awareness and understanding of abuse. The ‘Act Now For Children' campaign aims to inform everyone about the problem of child abuse, what it means for children and how everyone can help.
The proceeds from the sale of this CD will go towards the £36.5 million the NSPCC needs in the coming year to continue its vital work. Thank you.
If you know or suspect that a child is being ill-treated or neglected please tell the NSPCC at once. The NSPCC takes action to help children. The NSPCC listens, advises and responds. Telephone the NSPCC's national free 24 hour Child Protection Helpline on 0800-800 500. With your help we can protect children.

‘Even in this day of the teeny bopper Vanessa-Mae Nicholson is something of a phenomenon' said one press report about Vanessa-Mae aged twelve and not yet a teenager when she made her UK debut tour in the summer of 1991. In a country not given to adulation of child prodigies and quite used to performances by the world's best concert artistes, past and present, Vanessa-Mae has astounded reviewers and other distinguished musicians who have called her ‘an artiste' ‘an amazing prodigy' ‘a phenomenon'. Her concerts have taken her to many countries and her performances have been described in the highest terms - ‘a stunning display of violinistic virtuosity', ‘an amazing combination of virtuosic technique with a purity and integrity of interpretation which was at once beautiful, delicate and true ‘ ‘a violin lesson worthy of the greatest masters - to the point that several Conservatoire violin students in the audience must have been nearly driven to throwing their instruments away'. As a music journalist writing in La Voix Du Nord after Vanessa-Mae's recital observed, ‘To find yourself relegated to the ranks of a novice by the great masters is possible to stomach since one can always attribute their talent to years of hard work and the advice of the best teachers. But when a little girl of twelve manages a mastery of interpretation over pieces that one has difficultly in even playing, it is a little harder to digest'.
Vanessa-Mae, young violin virtuoso, was born on 27 October 1978. Gifted with a prodigious technique, and a ‘rich and full' ‘golden tone' which combine to make her play calm and aloof in front of the orchestra ‘with majesty poise and perfection' and ‘with a nonchalance that left one open-mouthed', Vanessa-Mae also possesses in abundance the exceptional musical qualities that are always the hardest to explain in ‘a true child prodigy'. In this regard, she is compared by distinguished musicians to Heifetz, Menuhin, Kreisler, Mozart and Mendelssohn for her ‘deep musical feeling', her ‘spirituality' and ‘maturity beyond her years'.
1991 has marked this extraordinary young musician's concert debut in several major cities in the world, and has included two sensational tours with orchestra. In January 1991, Vanessa-Mae joined the London Mozart Players on their Mozart Bicentennial Tour of the Far East, as their youngest ever soloist. In the summer, Vanessa-Mae made a brilliant tour of the UK which included Kenwood Opening Night and her Barbican debut, performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto to rave reviews. Vanessa-Mae has been the subject of several television documentary features and has given several televised concert performances in Europe and in the Far East.
Vanessa-Mae's debut CD recorded in October 1990 was glowingly reviewed by the Daily Telegraph. In this, her second CD, her versatility in technique and musical styles is reflected in the choice of repertoire. Vanessa-Mae recorded this in early September 1991 in Belgium in sessions that were as full of applause for her as they were of music. in this CD, many of the 18 concert show-pieces were specially transcribed by her or for her in a throwback to the dazzling and adventurous virtuoso style first practised by the legendary Paganini (and more recently, by Heifetz and Kreisler). Vanessa-Mae lives in England and supports the British children's charity, NSPCC. Sales in the UK of both her CDs benefit the NSPCC.

Trittico Classics October 1991©
* Attributions. The Journal UK Philip Sommerich Hampstead & Highgate Express Chris Aspin Manchester Evening News UK Straits Times Singapore Hong Kong Economic Times P Butstraen La Voix·Du Nord France Vasko Vassilev Artistic Director Laureate Michael Gough Matthews Director Royal College of Music Brenda Hawcr Yorkshire Evening Post Geoffrey Norris Daily Telegraph UK.

A Review by Vpa

This is a weird album, being a combination of children's music and virtuoso showpieces and virtuoso versions of children's music. Don't be put off by the title and some track tiles such as "Frere Jaques" and "Lullaby", and don't be afraid that the music will sound like Barney the Dinosaur or Sesame Street. This is a very interesting album that is unlike any other, and for the most part it is very good for adults as well as children.
The album consists of 18 short songs, some of them traditional classical works and some of them not. It has some pop songs transcribed to classical style, which is something that many orchestras have been doing for recent years. These classical-style versions of pop songs are the opposite of what Vanessa-Mae does with her techno-acoustic fusion songs such as "Toccata & Fugue" and "Storm", which is making pop versions of classical works.
A common theme of all these songs, and indeed of all of Vanessa-Mae's albums, is to show the versatility of the violin and of Vanessa-Mae's playing.
Development of Vanessa-Mae's Music
In this early album, at the age of 12, Vanessa-Mae was already demonstrating ability as a musical innovator and composer, as well as her high-energy style of violin playing. "One Moment in Time" and "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg" on this album were the first composition credits to Vanessa-Mae, several years before THE VIOLIN PLAYER, though like most of her later work they were adaptations of previously existing music not completely new music. This album was a foreshadowing of her later work, showing her interest in both pop music and traditional Chinese music.
This album was recorded in Belgium in September 1991, with the New Belgian Chamber Orchestra conducted by Nicholas Cleobury. It was Vanessa Mae's second album. The proceeds of the sales were donated to the NSPCC charity, the same as her first and third albums. It was recorded on the Trittco Classics label.
Chinese Version
This album, unlike the others, lists a second distributor besides Trittco. It was called Elite Music Co. Ltd., and it was for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and China. I've heard rumors (Thanks, Glenn!) that there is also a version of one or more of the early albums in Chinese packaging, using the Chinese name "Chen Mae" instead of "Vanessa-Mae".
Inlay Notes
The inlay notes are very strange; having children's artwork interspersed with very technical text about the music. This reinforces the feeling that producers of the album don't have a clear idea of who the target market is.
The Music
This is a violin fantasy of music from Rossini's opera "Barber of Seville", which includes the famous aria "Figaro, Figaro, Figaro". Castelnuovo-Tedesco and the virtuoso violinist Heifetz transcribed it.
Kreisler's Old Viennese Dances (three tracks)
Three tracks on this album are also played in the classical portion of Vanessa-Mae's videotape LIVE AT ALBERT HALL. These songs are "Liebesleid" ("The Sadness of Love"), "Liebesfreud" ("The Joy of Love"), and "Schon Rosmarin". The first two sound like their names. All three are quite short.
Kreisler was a virtuoso violinist of the beginning of the 20th century, but this music sounds like much older music, like Mozart or Haydn.
Paganini's La Campanella
This is a different version of the Paganini music that she later did a techno-acoustic fusion version of on her "Red Hot" Tour and LIVE AT ALBERT HALL. It sounds like a dialog between the violin and various other instruments, where the violin starts a passage and another instrument answers back. The one on the video is of course Vanessa-Mae's own version of Paganini's music, Caprice #24, and on that she uses tap dancers, electric guitars, and other non-traditional instruments. This track is Fritz Kreisler's version, composed in the early 20th century, which is shorter and more compact than Paganini's original.
Bach's "Air on the G String"
"Air" means song. This is played on only one string of the violin. It is a transcription by Wilhemj of an old, famous orchestral & vocal work by Bach, the second movement of Suite #3 in D Major. The romantic pop song "Warm Air" on THE VIOLIN PLAYER is a little bit like this piece, and probably the title is intended as a double meaning.
Frere Jacques
This is the longest work on this album, at 8:50. It is the first original work ever recorded by Vanessa-Mae. This work was written by Christopher James, who was commissioned by Vanessa-Mae's management (i.e. her mother, at that time) to write the music especially for Vanessa-Mae.
The basic theme is based on the old nursery rhyme Frere Jacques, which is sung by small children all over the world and which has Chinese lyrics as well as English and French lyrics. But the piece on this is not a nursery rhyme. The orchestra plays the basic theme as a musical round, while the solo violin goes off in many directions and plays many variations on it, going into several cadenzas and a lot of virtuoso violin fireworks. It's a very interesting piece, although it is hard to take seriously any music that is based on a nursery rhyme.
Yellow Submarine
A Beatles song becomes pointless in a violin version without lyrics.
Elgar's "Salut d'Amour"
Elgar was one of the first important English composers, who wrote this in the late 1880s. (So why did an English composer make a French title?) "Salut d'Amour" is a short, simple love song, written as an engagement present for his future wife.
Tchaikovsky's "Russian Dance"
This is from the ballet Swan Lake.
Brahm's "Lullaby"
"Lullaby" is impressed on us as a music that is programmed into baby's mobiles and little music boxes and musical greeting cards, and many people don't realize that originally it was a classical music by Brahms. This is a violin adaptation of it. Like "Frere Jaques", though, it is hard to take this music seriously because it is so much associated with small children.
LeGrand's "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg"
This is a theme song from a movie, which is a love story. The solo violin part is an original arrangement by Vanessa-Mae, showing that she already had skill as a composer even at the age of 12. The arrangement is interesting because of a long, complicated cadenza at the beginning, not at the end as according to usual practice. Then the orchestra comes in, and goes into a very romantic theme which sounds a little like French folk music. An interesting piece.
Gershwin's "Summertime" from "Porgy & Bess"
This is a violin transcription from the jazz opera "Porgy & Bess", about life in black South Carolina. It was originally transcribed by Heifetz, who was a contemporary of Gershwin; probably about the 1920s. However, Vanessa-Mae has her own approach to the music. This music has a lazy, jazz kind of sound, and the violin is played to sound like a saxaphone.
"My Favorite Things"
Just like in "Sound of Music"!
"One Moment in Time"
This is a violin adaptation of a pop song sung by Whitney Houston. The violin solo part is an original arrangement of Vanessa-Mae, while Christopher James re-arranged the piano part for an orchestra.
Kreisler's "Tambourin Chinois"
This is an arrangement by the early twentieth century Austrian violinist Fritz Kreisler, based on Chinese music. The violin is supposed to sound like a tambourine.
Sze-Du's "Chinese Folk Tune"
This was originally a traditional Chinese music for two Chinese string instruments, re-arranged to be a solo violin work. "Tambourin Chinois" and this song demonstrate Vanessa-Mae's interest in Chinese music, and were a foreshadowing of CHINA GIRL, recorded six years later.
Mancini's "Pink Panther"
What I like best about this song is that it's short.
Sarah Chang's DEBUT Album
Sarah Chang's DEBUT album has great similarity to Vanessa-Mae's first two albums, VIOLIN and KIDS' CLASSICS. It is intermediate between them in terms of style, since it consists of many short works like the later but is serious classical works like the former. Also, the recording date was after VIOLIN and before KIDS' CLASSICS. See the Two Discographies section.
The inlay notes say Sarah Chang recorded this album when she was only nine years old, although it also gives the dates of March 16 to April 16 1991 which would have made her 10 years old. However, it was not released until September 1992, when she was 11. That means it was recorded after Vanessa-Mae's first album VIOLIN but about the same time that album was released, before KIDS' CLASSICS was recorded, and DEBUT was released about the time of Vanessa-Mae's third album TCHAIKOVSKY & BEETHOVEN VIOLIN CONCERTOS. "Carmen Fantasy" was the first track of both VIOLIN and DEBUT. Also, the DEBUT album has Elgar's "Salut d'Amour" in common with Vanessa-Mae's second album KIDS' CLASSICS. Also, both DEBUT and KIDS' CLASSICS have a violin transcription of songs from Gershwin's jazz opera "Porgy & Bess": not exactly the same song since Sarah Chang did "It Ain't Necessarily So" and Vanessa-Mae did "Summertime", but certainly a very similar style.


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