Classical Kids
Bob Lawson hasn’t exactly received kids-classical-music hate mail, but he often finds himself defending his Kids Collection of Greatest Classics, Volumes 1-3 just the same.

“There’s a set of people who just think you just shouldn’t mess with classical music,” Lawson says. “I respect them, but if Brahms wrote something for piano, I’m OK with arranging it for piccolo.”

And thank goodness for that. Lawson’s music is for kids of all ages, rather than all those babies who’ve been listening to tunes we’re told will magically increase an infant’s IQ.

The Kids Collection of Greatest Classics stands apart from the other children’s classical music recordings, because Lawson has plucked the melodic gems out of the large orchestral format and arranged them in more intimate “song-length” abridgments. With famous melodic themes from greats such as Mozart, Strauss, Verdi and others, the compositions are exquisitely recorded and feature some of this country’s greatest classical musicians.

“My job was to simplify and find the basic melodic themes and the correct connections between them,” Lawson says. “Using exciting instrumentation is what making a captivating piece of music is all about. I’m doing what the Beatles did: I simplify, get rid of complex instrumentation, yet maintain the rich, complex melodies. If it’s a gorgeous melody, it still strikes the heart. A short length piece is important too, due to children’s length of attention span.”

 More music reviews.

The Kids Collection of Greatest Classics, Volumes 1-3, Robert Lawson, Greatest Classics; $14.98 CD, $9.98 cassette, gift pack $22.99; 978-369-0766 or