DORFF Blast Off! Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Billy and the Carnival. Three Fun Fables • Rossen Milanov, cond; Ukee Washington (narr); Ann Crumb (nar); Symphony in C • BRIDGE 9229 (44:53)
Music for children has become an important niche in Daniel Dorff’s output. It is a tricky genre. Britten and Prokofiev managed to create music for young people that also appeals to adults; a remarkable achievement. Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf is the exemplar of theRead more idiom; a stroke of utter genius. Using that very high standard, I would say that Doff fairs quite well. I listened to this music both as a parent with musically sensitive offspring (they better be!), but also in a more general sense. Dorff writes children’s music with a great sense for color and what seems like an almost naïve wonderment. The specter of early Stravinsky hangs over some of this orchestration, particularly the Petrushka-like textures of the jaunty, rather martial Billy and the Carnival.
The performances are more than solid, as one would expect in music designed to showcase instruments. Symphony in C, for which Dorff is the composer-in-residence, is a training orchestra based in Haddonfield, New Jersey, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. His narrators are professional vocalists of sorts; Ukee Washington is a silky throated television news anchor, and Ann Crumb (daughter of composer George Crumb, who was one of Dorff’s teachers) is an acclaimed Broadway performer. If you are looking for a new disc of children’s music, try this pleasing collection for young and old alike, from the pen of one of the best in the current business.