OH Music: Flute Sweet & Tickletoon in Green Golly & Her Golden Flute
A recent outing to a UC Berkeley symphony concert epitomized my family's appreciation of (rather, lack thereof) classical music. My 10 year old son--a novice violin player himself--complained: "I'll never be as good as that soloist," my 4 year old daughter chirped: "These songs are WAY too long!" and my well-meaning husband fell immediately asleep, chin to chest, later explaining that "the music was just so beautiful that I couldn't keep my eyes open."
Good one, I know.
I left thinking it's going to take a lot more time (and creativity) to get my symphonically-challenged family interested in classical music.
Enter the New York based husband and wife team Barbara Siesel and Keith Torgan (AKA Flute Sweet & Tickletoon) and their new CD Green Golly and Her Golden Flute. They are here to help create life-long classical music lovers even out of the squirmiest of kids (and maybe even husbands).
According to the CD press release:
Rapunzel may have suffered isolation and distress during her days trapped in that big old tower, but her alter ego, Green Golly, has a wonderful golden flute to express her deepest feelings and a large stack of music by the worldâ€™s greatest composers to explore. A keen observer of all that whizzes by her window, Green Golly is inclined to rely on her musical abilities to help her unravel the mysteries of life in this funny, engaging tale of romance and rescue, interwoven with works of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Gossec, Elgar, Bizet, Chopin, and Copland.
Juilliard trained flutist Barbara Siesel makes music by some of the greatest composers of the 19th and 20th centuries come alive in Green Golly & Her Golden Flute. Storyteller Keith Torgan fairly dances through the voices of the new characters heâ€™s created to grace the beloved old tale, from Vlotek the Gypsy to Mousey Tongue. Green Golly & Her Golden Flute is a wonderful female adventure story, in which the heroine, Green Golly, overcomes many difficulties and uses music and the power of learning to become a great artist and make friends.
The CD has a run time of 57 beautiful minutes and is geared toward kids ages 4-10. It's split into two sections, the first half being a whimsical adaptation of the classic fairytale Rapunzel. The story is laced with wacky characters guiding the confused Green Golly (Rapunzel) on her quest of self-fullfillment and the ultimate discovery of her true passion... music! Barbara and Keith, through their zany storytelling (Korsakov? Of course-akov!) expose kids to a nice handful of the world's greatest composers: Mozart, Mendelssohn, Korsakov, Schubert, Gossec, Elgar, Bizet, Chopin, and Copland (yeah, I'm a name-dropper).
The underlying themes of inspiration and emotional connection to music are incorporated into the story. For example Green Golly is inspired to play Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" when a rather fuzzy bee makes his way into Green Golly's tower and starts buzzing away. In Green Golly's world, feelings inspire music, music expresses emotion. For instance, when Green Golly is lonely she's driven to playing Mascagni's "Intermezzo Sinfonico", a piece that indeed feels wistful and lonely, just as Green Golly describes it.
The duo has also done a great job reinforcing what and who we're listening to. And it works quite well for kids. Imagine your family at some super-cultured event and a classy piece of classical music starts playing, and all of a sudden your 4 year old blurts out "Mommy, mommy that's Chopin's "Minute Waltz"... Dare I say proudest moment you've had since your boy learned how to pee standing up?
A mother can dream, right?
The second half of the CD is the soundtrack to the story and a chance to listen to full length versions of the songs from the story, beautifully performed by Barbara with accompaniment by Jessica Krash. Jessica, also Juilliard trained, is quite an eminent pianist and composer. Sheâ€™s a teacher at George Washington University in DC..
"Green Golly & Her Golden Flute" makes classical music less intimidating and more exhilarating for burgeoning young music connoisseurs.