Also available on Blu-ray
These live performances from Snape Maltings Concert Hall present some of the most popular classical works for younger audiences. Their perennial appeal is a result of vivid melodies, witty instrumental characterisation, and in three works, the use of spoken texts to illuminate the narrative. Whether composed to amuse, entertain or educate, each possesses marvellous vitality, lyricism and bravura. The performances are conducted and narrated by Marin Alsop, one of the world’s most inspirational musical communicators.
The chamber orchestra used for Saint-Saens's Carnival of the Animals, with two solo pianists, is of excellent quality. By far the most frequently played section, The Swan, is beautifully performed by the principal cello of this student ensemble.
The video was made in 2017 and 2018, the young people having had the good fortune of working with the conductor, Marin Alsop. The resulting concerts were filmed with Alsop acting as narrator, that narration becoming more serious as she takes us through The Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra, a searching test for the young players who give a very creditable performance. As one would expect from the Snape Malting's venue, the sound quality is excellent, the result being a highly desirable gift for the children in your life.
– David's Review Corner (David Denton)
The strongest aspect of these performances is the narration of conductor Marin Alsop. She is natural and very dramatic, delivering the various texts in a manner that would be especially effective with children. She doesn’t adopt a condescending or supercilious manner as some narrators have, nor does she overdo the dramatics. In short, I haven’t heard a better narrator in any of these works. As one might expect, Alsop’s conducting also divulges her total sympathies with the music as she shapes the scores effectively and, as suggested, draws fine playing from these talented youthful musicians in these live performances.
– MusicWeb International