Discovering the Story in Music

New Kids Classics

New Kids Classics is a brand new CD with three pieces for the young and the young at heart. The composer/author is Michael Fan, and the performers are the Fan Fare Ensemble, Steven Moeckel, violin; Paula Fan, piano, Nelzimar Neves and Anne Gratz, cello. Paula Fan is also the narrator. You can read more about the musicians on the Musicians page

All three pieces on this CD are examples of Themes and Variations. I like to think of the theme as being the main character of a story and the variations as the story of what happens to the character. The Little Fiddle is a set of variations on “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” a favorite piece for beginning violinists. Listen carefully and you might recognize melodies from famous classical pieces.

Beethoven’s Mouse is an original story written to go along with music from Beethoven’s Variations in E-flat major, Op.44. Beethoven’s “Für Elise,” a favorite piece for young pianists, plays an important part in the story. The mouse’s name is Moritz, the German form of Morris. He is also the great-great grandfather of Morris Mouse whom you can see on

Happy Birthday, Wolfgang! is based on “Happy Birthday to You” One way this piece is different from the other two is that the theme doesn’t appear at the beginning. It sneaks in. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro joins the party for the last variation!