Guide to our Piano Concert for Children
Written by Benjamin Williams, Stephanie Williams and Danielle Shoebottom
We hope you are looking forward to the piano concert for children this Saturday June 8th 3pm at the Clarendon Muse in Watford. This will potentially be your childs first exposure to a classical piano concert. To make it as educational and enjoyable as possible here are some information & top hints you can share with your little ones before the big day.
Piano concerts or recitals as they are commonly called started in the 1800’s with a pianist called Franz Liszt. Incredibly famous at the time, and still revered to this day, his skills wowed audiences, and he advanced piano playing more than any other amongst his peers. Liszt’s format of the piano recital has continued to be popular all over the world.
Today you will hear a piano recital by Chinese born international pianist Ji Liu. He will perform music by Claude Debussy, Robert Schumann and Sergei Prokofiev.
What to expect
When you arrive you will find your seat, which will be facing a big piano made by a German company called Steinway & Sons. These pianos are the finest pianos and can cost as much as a Ferrari! When everyone has found their seats, Ji Liu will come in and start playing the piano.
The first piece he will play is called the Submerged Cathedrale by French composer Claude Debussy. It was released 109 years ago in 1910. It tells the story of an ancient myth of a cathedral which comes out from under the sea. The music starts with the cathedral coming out of the water little by little until it can be appreciated in all its grandeur. The cathedral then starts to sink again until finally it is gone from sight, with only the sound of bells from far away. This is a great piece to introduce your child to the concept of architecture and the crossover between art forms inspired by each other.
You can listen to it here:
The second piece you will hear is again by Claude Debussy called Fireworks. This is based on a spectacular firework display over Paris on the piano. Close your eyes and imagine the audiences getting excited and then the first firework goes off, with bright flashes of light and colour.
You can listen to it here:
The third piece you will hear is actually a collection of many short pieces by German composer Robert Schumann. It is called Scenes from Childhood. There are 13 small pieces and these are called;
- Of foreign lands and peoples
- A strange tale
- Catch me if you can
- Pleading child
- Happy enough
- An important event
- Dreaming (listen to Ji Liu playing this here)
- At the fireside
- Knight of the Hobby Horse
- Almost too serious
- Child falling asleep
- The poet speaks
Can you imagine a story for each of these short little pieces as you hear them?
You can listen to the full work here:
The last piece you will hear is by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. It is called Peter and the Wolf. It tells the story of a young boy called Peter, his grandfather, a Duck, Cat, Bird, a scary Wolf and Hunters. It is normally played by a big orchestra, with different instrument for each character. However, Prokofiev first wrote it for just the piano, and this is the version we will hear today with talented speaker Richard Hamilton Williams reading us the narrative. Listen carefully as the story is told and to each characters tune.
Enjoy what promises to be both an evocative & educational performance.
Top tip: If you clap really loudly Ji might perform an encore where he will play an extra special piece.
See if you can answer the questions of this worksheet. Hand in your completed sheet at the concert and you will be entered to win a special prize that will be chosen at the end of the performance.
If you haven’t already, tickets can be brought here.