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4854180 (Decca Classics, CD)
FIRST RELEASE (26 May 2023)
Playing time: 67'56"
Booklet pages: 16
℗ 2023 Universal Music Operations Ltd
© 2023 Universal Music Operations Ltd
Main country of recording: United Kingdom
Reviewer: Gerald Fenech
Review of Isata Kanneh-Mason: Childhood Tales published on 13 May 2023
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791):
1-13 Twelve Variations K 265 on 'Ah vous dirai-je, maman'
Ernő Dohnányi (1877-1960):
14-27 Variations on a Nursery Song for Piano and Orchestra, Op 25
Claude Debussy (1862-1918):
28-33 Children's Corner CD 119
Robert Schumann (1810-1856):
34-46 Kinderszenen Op 15
Continuing her developing legacy with Decca Classics that began in 2019, Isata Kanneh-Mason's third album uses Dolby Atmos Technology to capture Isata's signature virtuosic flair. The eldest of the famous musical siblings, Isata’s first memory of playing the piano was as a five-year-old on holiday in the Caribbean and sitting in front of her grandparents' instrument. With a reputation for inventive programmes, expressive performance and accomplished technique, Isata is in increasing demand nationally and internationally, and was the only classical artist to appear in TIDAL's 2023 Rising Artists to Watch. Isata evokes the magic of childhood in this charming collection of nostalgic music. The album is centered around Ernő Dohnányi's rarely performed Variations on a Nursery Song, expanding the well-known Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star into a truly virtuosic work which takes the theme through eleven musical variations and a fugal finale. Subtitled 'for the enjoyment of friends of humour, to the annoyance of others', it saw great success when it was introduced in the UK in the 1910s, with its witty, kaleidoscopic mix making this a concert favorite for many years afterwards before falling out of fashion – it was subsequently performed almost every year at the BBC Proms between the 1920s and the 1950s. Isata is joined by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she previously recorded Clara Schumann's Piano Concerto for her 2019 album Romance on Decca. From a young age, Isata has had a special affinity with Mozart and recalls playing the composer's Variations on the French song, 'Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman', with the same recognizable melody transformed through twelve sophisticated and inventive variations. Composed by Mozart when he was around Isata's age, it is the perfect showpiece to pair with the Dohnányi.
Recorded 17-20 November 2022 at Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, UK and 13-14 December 2022 at The Friary, Liverpool, UK.