Chick Corea’s “Children’s Songs”: Simplicity as Beauty

The late jazz pianist Chick Corea began writing the solo piano collection, Children’s Songs, in 1971. The set of twenty short songs follows the model of Bartók’s Mikrokosmos. In the preface, Corea wrote that the music was intended “to convey simplicity as beauty, as represented in the Spirit of a child.”

 Each of the twenty songs opens up a magical new vignette, each with its distinct atmosphere. At the same time, a sense of motivic unity runs through the collection. Jazz and pentatonic harmony meets vibrant cross-rhythms and irregular meters. As the set progresses, the music becomes increasingly adventurous and complex. Allusions to the Gymnopédies of Satie, Steve Reich, “Joy to the World,” and Corea’s earlier music blend together to form a jubilant musical romp.

Here is Leon Bates’ recording:

Addendum

Chick Corea concluded the set with a brief Addendum for violin, cello, and piano. The music provides a fitting close to the collection, soaring with sunny, jazz-infused optimism. Here is a recording by Trío Arbós:

Recordings

  • Corea: 20 Children’s Songs for Piano, Leon Bates Amazon 
  • Corea: Addendum, Trío Arbós Amazon

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

1 thought on “Chick Corea’s “Children’s Songs”: Simplicity as Beauty”

  1. Gratitude for your introducing me, and I suspect others, to this marvelous collection of Correa’s Children’s Songs.

    My only wonder is how children respond to these ‘songs’.

    I wonder how they might sound on a lute, a harp, or with a chirping flute accompaniment.

    DrW.

    Reply

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