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Summer Reading - books for all ages.
Featured Resource

Companion CD to Beethoven/Hayden


Companion CD to Beethoven/Hayden

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Publisher: Zeezok Publishing

Illustrator: Mary Greenwalt

List Price: CD-ROM: $7.95

Ages: All Ages

Reviewed By: Jean Hall

We have found the Zeezok Publishing series of biographies on the lives of the great composers to be a wonderful introduction to music history for our younger ones. The biographies tell the composers' stories; the study guides add dates and background detail; and the CDs provide MP3 music files, coloring pages, and written music that go with the biographies.

While reading through the biographies of Ludwig Beethoven and Joseph Haydn, I've been able to stop and play the musical excerpts included in the stories. If you don't play the piano, you miss a lot, I think, in the reading, as every few pages the author brings out another snippet of the composer's work, to give the reader a taste. That's where this CD, A Companion CD to Ludwig Beethoven/Joseph Haydn, comes in. When you reach a particular musical snippet, you can play the MP3 file from the CD. Or you can print out the music and play it on the piano without having a child hold the book open for you! All the music from the Beethoven and Haydn biographies is included in a PDF file.

Our children enjoyed coloring the pictures, which I printed from the CD, as we read. The pictures match the graceful black and white illustrations found in the biographies, and several from each chapter are included in the coloring pages PDF file.

Acrobat Reader 5.1 is included on the disk for those who need a program to enable them to access PDF files.

The music gives you a sampling of the two composers' enormous body of work. We heard familiar themes, as well as melodies that were new to us, and we look forward to further listening from complete works. One small quibble: Though the MP3 files sound like piano, they are evidently computer-generated. This became clear while we were listening to the Beethoven selections. One snippet which was from a slow and rather wistful movement, was played in a sprightly, mechanical mode. In another, either the selection was taken from a different version of a minuet than I've heard before, or there are a few wrong notes written into the music file. It's easy enough to do; I've done it often enough, myself, when typing in music on the computer.

But these minor annoyances aside, I find this Companion CD to be a fine supplement to Opal Wheeler's biographies, Joseph Haydn: The Merry Little Peasant and Ludwig Beethoven and the Chiming Tower Bells.
More Information
Available From: Zeezok Publishing
Address: PO Box 1960, Elyria OH 44036
Phone: 800.749.1681
Other Notes:
Purchase Now From the Eclectic Homeschool Resource Center
Jean Hall
Jean Hall, a Christian home educator with three daughters, enjoys writing stories and music. Her family's interests include reading together, art, gardening, volkswalking and pets: two cats and a Giant Schnauzer.
Copyright © 2007 Eclectic Homeschool Association
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