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November 13, 2007

Review: Von Trapp Children's sound creates beautiful music

The Oklahoman (OK):

Seventy years after Georg von Trapp and his family fled Nazi-occupied Austria in the late 1930s, their story still fascinates, thanks in large part to "The Sound of Music,” Rodgers and Hammerstein's poignant 1959 musical about the family von Trapp. Not surprisingly, music continues to be an integral part of that family's history.

Today, the fourth generation of von Trapps — Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and Justin — are touring as the von Trapp Children. They are the grandchildren of Werner von Trapp, portrayed in the movie as Kurt, the young man who described himself as incorrigible.

The von Trapp Children recently joined the Oklahoma City Philharmonic for an evening of song and storytelling. These young entertainers, ages 13 to 19, were not only musically accomplished but also proved to be surprisingly adept at audience patter.

The von Trapp Children opened their portion of the program with the ever-charming "Do Re Mi.” They followed this with "J'entends le Moulin,” a sort of French patter song that was a real tongue-twister. The girls' trio then tackled the wistful and melancholic "Something Told the Wild Geese.”

With the girls dressed in dirndls and Justin wearing traditional lederhosen, the quartet created an authentic Austrian look. The performers offered a rather breathy version of "Amazing Grace,” followed by Mozart's "Overture to the Magic Flute” in the style of the Swingle Singers.

Irving Berlin's "Anything You Can Do,” the one-upmanship duet from "Annie Get Your Gun,” caught Justin in an awkward place vocally, forcing him to go in and out of falsetto. Melanie was impressive, though, in "Walking in the Air,” a haunting number from Howard Blake's "The Snowman.”

No musical style seemed off limits for these young singers. They performed the gospel-inspired "Sinner Man” and "Down to the River” with deftness and understanding. In keeping with the concert's Austrian theme, the orchestra offered high-spirited versions of von Suppe's "Light Cavalry Overture” and Johann Strauss' "Radetzky March.”

Of course, the von Trapp Children were at their finest in music from "The Sound of Music.” Their rendition of the title number was lovely, as was the giddy "My Favorite Things.” More impressive still were their close harmony versions of "Edelweiss” and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain.”

Who knows what the future holds for these teenage singers. Justin has already had to deal with a changing voice, and the two older girls are approaching college age. One thing seems certain, though: As subsequent generations are introduced to "The Sound of Music,” there will always be an audience for the von Trapps.

Same as the original Trapp Family Singers, who often performed a cappella, the current von Trapp Children also sing a great deal of unaccompanied material.

Posted by acapnews at November 13, 2007 9:54 PM


Can you tell me the name of the book they are selling at concerts?

Posted by: Larry Trahan at November 26, 2007 8:17 AM

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