Instruments of the Orchestra

My favorite introduction to these instruments is a two CD set produced by Vanguard Classics. This set provides a good deal of information and allows you to listen to each instrument by itself, as well as, in harmony with other instruments. An added bonus is a complete performance of Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, a presentation highlighting all instruments of the orchestra individually and in various combinations. Britten’s piece is a set variations and fugue on a theme by the English composer, Henry Purcell (1659-1695).

Strings

1. Violin 9:24
2. Viola 4:47
3. Cello 5:19
4. Double Bass 5:34
5. String Choir
        (Tchaikovsky: Serenade in C, excerpt)
1:25
6. Harp 3:39

 

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Woodwinds

1. Piccolo 1:52
2. Flute 4:59
3. Oboe 2:48
4. English Horn 3:40
5. Clarinet 3:51
6. Bass Clarinet 1:42
7. Saxophone 3:45
8. Bassoon 3:50
9. Contra-Bassoon 1:54
10. Woodwind Choir
           (Wagner: Die Meistersinger, except)
0:59


Please allow a few moments for each of the songs to begin playing. This time may vary depending on your internet connection.

Brass

1. French Horn  3:27
2. Trumpet 4:01
3. Tuba 1:26
4. Brass Choir
       (Wagner: Die Meistersinger, excerpt)
0:40


Please allow a few moments for each of the songs to begin playing. This time may vary depending on your internet connection.

Percussion

1. Timpani 1:13
2. Bass Drum   0:44
3. Snare Drum, Cymbals 1:15
4. Triangle 0:26
5. Tambourine 0:10
6. Chimes 0:33
7. Gong 0:20
8. Xylophone 0:54
9. Glockenspiel 0:46
10. Celesta 1:10
11. Various 1:42
12. Combined Percussion
          (Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol, excerpt)
1:28


Please allow a few moments for each of the songs to begin playing. This time may vary depending on your internet connection.

Full Orchestra

Vienna Staatsoper Orchestra & principals
Mario Rossi, conductor
David Randolph, narrator


Please allow a few moments for each of the songs to begin playing. This time may vary depending on your internet connection.

Benjamin Britten: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra        17:25

English Chamber Orchestra
Johannes Somary, conductor


Please allow a few moments for each of the songs to begin playing. This time may vary depending on your internet connection.

You may sample all tracks of this double compact disc on this site. If you wish to purchase it for yourself, here are the particulars:

The Instruments of the Orchestra
Vienna Staatsoper Orchestra
Mario Rossi, conductor
English Chamber Orchestra
Johannes Somary, conductor
David Randolph, narrator
Vanguard Classics OVC 8096/97

A very engaging and interesting film about the wide diversity of interests and backgrounds among members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the world’s finest symphony orchestras, is Music from the Inside Out. In this DVD, the musicians celebrate their varied interests, elaborate on their musical careers, and join in conversation around common musical concerns.

Music from the Inside Out
A film by Daniel Anker
Docurama NVG-9869


Other Resources for Young People of All Ages:

Genevieve Helsby
Those Amazing Musical Instruments
(Book with Interactive CD-ROM)
Naperville, Il: NAXOS Books, 2007

Robert Levine
The Story of the Orchestra
(Book which iIncludes CD with 37 selections by great composers)
New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2001

Some recommended CDs which introduce children to Concert Music:

Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals
Prokofiev: Peter & the Wolf
(Jeremy Nichols, narrator)
Britten: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra
Slovak Radio symphony Orchestra
Ondrej Lenard, conductor
NAXOS 8.550499

Prokofiev: Peter & the Wolf
(Boris Karloff, narrator)
Prokofiev: Lieutenant Kiji Suite
Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Mario Rossi, conductor
Vanguard Classics ATM CD 1803

Classics for Kids
Various Orchestras & Performers
RCA Victor 09026-61489-2

The Ultimate Most Relaxing Classics for Kids in the Universe
Various Orchestras & Performers
Denon COZ 17665

The Classical Child at the Opera
Various Orchestras & Performers
Sophia Sounds CC-106D