Saturday, 8 January 2011

Die Moldau

Being a musician myself one of my hopes is that I can instill the same love of music in my daughter.  My approach to introducing L to music is not to have her know all of the composers, when they were born and what they look like.  To me at three years old those things are irrelevant and not necessary.  I would much rather have L really listen to and appreciate music.  Have her be able to really feel something when she hears a piece and be able to listen well enough to hear different changes in melody, instrumentation, tempo and dynamics. 

To start L's introduction to Classical music I have used program music.  This type of music is composed to tell a story.  I think this is the easiest way for L to hear how composers manipulate music and instruments to represent different things or ideas.
This week our piece was Die Moldau, a gorgeous symphonic poem by Bedrich Smetana which describes the sights and sounds along the banks of the Moldau or Vltava river that flows through Prague.
L and I listened to the music a few times and talked about the different "themes" such as a Peasant wedding,  the great castle and even water nymphs.  We then looked at some pictures from the Internet.

Once we had an idea in our heads we set to work painting our scenes.
Here is our voyage along the Moldau river.
(I've included the timings in for each scene from this Youtube recording)

The piece begins with two flutes each playing fast moving notes to represent two little streams or tributaries that flow into the Moldau.
You can see our pillow boats on the side waiting until we get to the bigger river.
The stream pattern is then passed on to the lower strings to represent the streams joining(00:53) and flowing into the main river.  This is where we get in and listen to the main river theme played by the violins (00:59).
Okay we're on our way.  First off we pass by a grand forest and we can hear the the French horns and trumpets introducing the "Hunting in the Forest theme"(1:54)
We then float along the banks and can hear the music from a Peasant Wedding(2:48).  We moor our pillow boats and get off to dance with the guests.
We dance until late into the night and the moon comes out.  We climb back onto our boats just in time to float past some water nymphs frolicking in the moonlight which is played by the two flutes again(4:27).
We continue along and hear the river theme again(6:38).  The river gets choppier and choppier as the music gets more agitated(7:17).  Finally with great excitement we go down "The Rapids of St. John" and the huge waterfall(8:18).  Phew we held on tight and didn't fall out of our boats!
Around the bend and the "Ancient Castle Vysehrad" (8:31)comes into view introduced by a regal theme played by the brass.  We wave to the people in the castle and stare in awe at it's grandeur.
Then it's time to move along the river as the music becomes calm again(10:00) and we've finished our journey.
L was so excited to take Granny on the Moldau she woke us all up at 6:30 with the pillow boats ready!

Here are some other posts on the music and compositions we've explored so far:

I've linked this post up to The Adventures of Bear's Artists and Art series.  To see more in the series go to the button on the right side bar.


Amanda Pedro said...

nice job! What do you play/sing? I'm a classical singer.
This would have been cool to do when I taught school. Definitely keeping the idea in case I go back into the classroom.
thanks for sharing

The girl who painted trees said...

You are amazing! I wish I could inspire Bear like that for music!

Musical Mama said...

This is so neat! I love the Moldau and used to teach it to my 2nd graders back when I was an elementary music teacher. We drew pictures for the different themes. I like your version, it's much more accessable for the younger kiddos! I'll be checking out your other music posts to see what other ideas I can "borrow" to use with my daughter!

Leptir (Nataša) said...


Jessie, The Education Of Ours said...

This is so beautiful. She'll always remember this, and the care you took in exposing her to the piece. Wow!

Olives and Pickles said...

How fun!!I love it.

Phyllis said...

What a nice way to introduce the love of music. Perfect!

Lisa C said...

This is a super cool idea! My son loves music, and I want to encourage that. Thanks for sharing!

Charissa Jacobson said...

This is wonderful! What fun. Thank you for sharing with us.

Unknown said...

Very creative and memorable to a child.

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