Isata Kanneh-Mason announces new album, 'Childhood Tales'

11 April 2023
By Ellie Palmer
The pianist's third album is set to be released on 26 May via Decca Classics

The first single from the album, Mozart’s Variation 11: Adagio from Twelve Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman”, is out now and available to stream here


British pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason is set to release a brand-new album of nostalgic works on the theme of childhood.

The album is centred around ErnÅ‘ Dohnányi’s rarely performed Variations on a Nursery Song, expanding the well-known ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ into a truly virtuosic work which takes the theme through eleven musical variations and a fugal finale. Subtitled 'for the enjoyment of friends of humour, to the annoyance of others', it saw great success when it was introduced in the UK in the 1910s, with its witty, kaleidoscopic mix making this a concert favourite for many years afterwards before falling out of fashion – it was subsequently performed almost every year at the Proms from 1920s to 1950s.

Debussy's Children's Corner is also included on the album. The six-movement suite, written for his six-year-old daughter, symbolises a return to the innocent world of children, featuring familiar tunes like Cakewalk and the playful Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum

Also appearing on the album is Robert Schumann’s collection of 13 short pieces, Kinderszenen (‘Scenes from Childhood’).


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Isata Kanneh-Mason is set to release her third album. ©David Venni


Isata, who appeared on the cover of Pianist 110, is joined by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she previously recorded Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto for her 2019 album, 'Romance' on Decca.

Isata comments, "It was in childhood where my love of classical music first blossomed. The pieces in this album carry with them a certain nostalgia, and I feel almost a sense of longing for childhood in some of them. That wistfulness for childhood is something that I wanted to express, as I think it’s a time when one’s love of music is at its most uncomplicated."

On 3 May Isata will perform Dohnányi’s Variations on a Nursery Song with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Antony Hermus at Cadogan Hall. More information and tickets here