Decca Classics has announced that pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason’s third album Childhood Tales will be released worldwide on 26 May 2023. The first single, Mozart’s Variation 11: Adagio from Twelve Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman”, is out today.
Isata evokes the magic of childhood in this charming collection of nostalgic music. The album is centred 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. Isata is joined by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she previously recorded Schumann’s Piano Concerto for her 2019 album Romance.
Isata has had a special affinity with Mozart from a young age, and recalls playing the composer’s Variations on the French song ‘Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman’ with the same recognisable 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.
Debussy’s enchanting Children’s Corner is a six-movement suite written for his 6-year-old daughter that symbolises a return to the innocent world of children, featuring familiar tunes like Cakewalk and the playful Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum. The suite is full of child-like charm and sentiment and portrays the experiences of childhood.
Schumann’s simple and unpretentious collection of 13 short pieces, Kinderszenen (‘Scenes from Childhood’), were intended as adult nostalgia. The most well-known of which is Träumerei (Dreaming), a touching tribute to memories and experiences of childhood from an adult perspective.
Isata said, “It was in childhood where my love of classical music first blossomed. The pieces in this album carry with them a certain nostalgia, and I feel almost a sense of longing for childhood in some of them. That wistfulness for childhood is something that I wanted to express, as I think it’s a time when one’s love of music is at its most uncomplicated.”
Isata Kanneh-Mason is managed in association with Enticott Music Management.
Photo credit: David Venni