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Donia Blumenfeld Clenman and Martin Clenman

Flowerfield & Littleman, 1989. Audio cassette, 43 minutes, stereo, Dolby, $10.98
Distributed by Flowerfield & Littleman, Box 2613, Postal Station F, 3020 Bridletowne Circle, Scarborough, Ont. M1W 3P2

Grades 2 to 6/Ages 7 to 11
Reviewed by Christine Buchanan.

Volume 18 Number 6
1990 November

In this tape, author/narrator Donia Clenman attempts to introduce children to the music of Mozart through her story, Amadeus and Mr. Mozart. Her hero Jonathan is a young boy studying the piano. He owns a snake called Amadeus who doesn't like Jonathan's rather heavy touch. Amadeus disap­pears one day, and in his sadness, Jonathan stops practising. He subse­quently dreams of Mr. Mozart, and resumes playing, now with more sensitivity. Mr. Mozart and Amadeus continue to visit him in his dreams, and they finally go up to the moon, where they play for the stars, born there by Jonathan's playing. Jonathan grows up and becomes a great pianist, especially reaching people through his renditions of Mozart. The author's husband. Martin Clenman, plays two selections from Mozart's Sonata in C (K. 545), during the telling of this story on side one; on side two, he plays the complete sonata.

The author's sincere love of Mozart certainly comes through, and the tape does give a glimpse of Mozart's life and exposes the listener to some of his music. However, the story is weak and confusing; for example, the children are initially instructed to sit in a circle, and call out "snake" when they hear the word "Amadeus" and say "composer" when they hear "Mozart" or "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart." Most importantly, the heavily sentimental tone detracts from the intended impact. Sue Hammond's tape, A Child Looks at Mozart (Kids Records, 1987), and her other recordings on Bach (Mr. Bach Comes to Call (Classical Kids, 1987)) and Beethoven (Mr. Beethoven Lives Upstairs (Classical Kids, 1989)) are livelier and more successful examples of story-music combinations to introduce composers.

Not recommended.

Christine Buchanan, Toronto, Ont.
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