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CLASSICAL KIDS COLLECTION BRINGS CLASSICAL MUSIC TO CHILDREN; NEIL DIAMOND RELEASES FIRST-EVER COLLECTION OF CHRISTMAS SONGS

 CLASSICAL KIDS COLLECTION BRINGS CLASSICAL MUSIC TO CHILDREN;
 NEIL DIAMOND RELEASES FIRST-EVER COLLECTION OF CHRISTMAS SONGS
 BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Classical Kids Collection is Susan Hammond's way of painlessly, provocatively and entertainingly bringing classical music to today's children. This handsomely packaged box set, the collection consists of four compact discs or cassettes dealing with the music of Beethoven, Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart, by introducing newly recorded music interwoven with a child-centered dramatic story.
 In "Beethoven Lives Upstairs," for example, 12-year-old Christoph has Beethoven -- eccentric, noisy, lonely and deaf -- arrive at his home as a lodger. "Today, a madman moved in upstairs," he says. The rest of the tale is how Christoph finally comes to respect and admire the man and his music -- as does the contemporary listener -- particularly the Ninth Symphony, which forms a major backdrop to the story.
 Other titles are: "Mr. Bach Comes to Town," "Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery" and "Mozart's Magic Fantasy." Individually, the titles have won Juno Awards (Canadian Grammys), American Library Association Awards and Parent's Choice Awards, as well as selling more than 750,000 units in North America.
 Says Hammond, producer of The Classical Kids Collection and herself a mother and educator, "Classical music has not been good at presenting itself to children except in a stuffy, formal, inaccessible manner. I'm determined to change that. It's better to entertain and hope that it teaches than to teach and hope it entertains."
 For Neil Diamond, whose singing, songwriting career began back in 1965, it's a first: his first-ever collection of Christmas songs, plus the bonus of a specially written Diamond song ("You Make It Feel Like Christmas"), "The Christmas Album" (Columbia Records). All the classics are there ("Silent Night," "The Little Drummer Boy," "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing") and Diamond even takes on the Crosby classic "White Christmas" in this collection. Also included is John Lennon's "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)," which was controversial at the time (1970s) it was written.
 Diamond, who has been called the "Jewish Elvis" by Rolling Stone, has no problems about Christmas songs. "In high school, every December we had a Christmas chorale. All those kids, all that wonderful music," he recalls.
 Diamond's early Christmas present gets an extra boost when the HBO network airs his Christmas special built around the songs on the recording. It is surprising that Diamond actually found time to record "The Christmas Album." He has been involved in a world concert tour -- United States, Europe, Australia -- almost continuously this year, re-establishing himself (according to Amusement Business) as one of the potent music box office stars.
 -0- 11/10/92
 /CONTACT: Ian Dove of the Lee Solters Company, 213-651-9300/ CO: Lee Solters Company ST: California IN: ENT SU: PDT


LD -- NYHFNS15 -- 9026 11/10/92 07:02 EST
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Date:Nov 10, 1992
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