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*** 1/2 "HELEN HUANG, FOR CHILDREN" (Teldec)

May 25, 1997|Josef Woodard

Barely out of childhood herself, pianist Huang (b. 1982) has an easy, telling grasp of both the innocence and depth of this program, focusing on classical gems for children. Here, the typical complaint lodged against prodigies--that they haven't lived long enough to imbue the music with lived-in wisdom--doesn't apply: The music is about and intended for those of tender years. Huang is a remarkable player who races through fast passages with assurance but who also savors the more spacious, impressionistic moments in Villa-Lobos' "A prolo do bebe" (The Baby's Family) and in Debussy's "Children's Corner." She richly conveys the melodic luster of Schumann's "Kinderszenen" and applies crisp detail to Mozart's "Variations on 'Ah! vous dirai-je, Maman.' " "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" never sounded so good, so smart. It's one of those recordings useful for parents wanting to guide their kids into serious music. And it's a satisfying listen for the older set, to boot.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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