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ClassicsOnline Home » ANDERSEN: Fairy Tales
The world of Hans Christian Andersen is seen through the eyes of children. There is the everyday wonder of an ugly duckling being transformed into a swan; the puffed-up Emperor being fooled by his own importance; the tender tragedy of a little match girl; the upright honesty of John rewarded by his travelling companion. By bringing true feelings to these stories, Andersen’s tales have become part of universal folklore.
Hans Christian Andersen
ANDERSEN’S FAIRY TALES
The Emperor’s New Clothes • The Tinder Box • The Traveling
The Ugly Duckling • The Little Match Girl • The Swineherd •
Big Claus and Little Claus
As a child, Hans Christian Andersen had the kind of impoverished
background that we find in so many of his stories. Born in 1805 in Odense,
Denmark, he was the son of a shoemaker. His father’s death when he was nine
forced him to curtail his education. He worked in a factory while going to
school, but was drawn to the stage from an early age. While still a teenager,
he ran away to Copenhagen where he joined a theater as an odd-job boy, hoping
that he would become an actor. He was singled out for special support by one of
the directors of the theater and went back to school and eventually, in 1928,
to the University of Copenhagen.
He began writing novels and plays with varied success. But
it was with his fairy tales that he was to make his name. The first collection,
Tales Told for Children, was published in 1835, and included Big Claus and
Little Claus and The Tinder Box. Other collections (one titled A Picture Book
Without Pictures) appeared in the following years as their popularity grew and
Andersen himself became more confident in the genre.
Their appeal lay in his particular ability to tell a story,
which, while it may have a strong element of fantasy, always showed its
characters responding with real human feelings. This, in conjunction with his
use of colloquial language, created a reality that was missing in the
established formal traditions of storytelling for children. Many of the stories
had a sad or poignant element — reflecting Andersen’s own sad life as a child.
He himself always felt an outcast.
He was a prolific writer — other works include travel books,
poems and a number of autobiographies. However, he will always be principally
remembered for his fairy tales, which have appealed to successive generations
since his death in Copenhagen in 1875.
Notes by Nicolas Soames
The music on this cassette is taken from the NAXOS catalog
TCHAIKOVSKY NUTCRACKER/SWAN LAKE 8.550050
Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Michael Halasz
THE BEST OF FRENCH BALLET/DELIBES COPPELIA/ SYLVIA/
LA SOURCE/LE ROI S’AMUSE/KASSYA 8.550080
CSR Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), Ondrej Lenárd
RIMSKY KORSAKOV SUITE “THE SNOW MAIDEN” 8.550486
CSR Symphony Orchestra, Donald Johanos
TCHAIKOVSKY THE SNOW MAIDEN 8.553856
Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Igor Golovchin
ADAM GISELLE; WEBER INVITATION TO THE DANCE
FAUST GOUNOD; DELIBES LAKMÉ 8.550081
Erica Johns trained in singing and drama at the Guildhall
School of Music. After an early career in opera she concentrated on
theater and musicals. Following a break of 15 years to raise
a family, she returned to an active stage career, performing and touring in a
range of work, from Oliver and The Sound of Music to The Nurse in Romeo and
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ANDERSEN: Fairy Tales