1962's Dance, Sing & Listen marks Bruce Haack's debut as a children's composer. The first part of the Dance, Sing & Listen series, the album includes medieval, country, classical, and pop styles in its embrace, interpreting the songs with a mix of electronic and acoustic instruments. From the boogie-woogie of "Introduction" to the electronic-classical hybrid of "Medieval Dances," Haack's wide-ranging musical vision has free reign on Dance, Sing & Listen. "Sunflowers" is an activity song in which children imagine they are sunflowers, from seed to bloom; behind Esther Nelson's instructions, Haack provides fizzy, bubbling keyboard effects, a vaguely African guitar line, and bongos as accompaniment. In other hands this might be a simple activity song; with Nelson and Haack's creative approach, it borders on sci-fi spoken word.
Similarly, tracks like "Eine Kleine Gebouncemusik" feature discussions between Nelson, Haack, and the children they recorded the album with, resulting in a parallel-dimension version of Kids Say the Darndest Things. The sprightly, keyboard-based "Gebouncemusik" is a quintessential Haack work, referencing Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" as well as Hindenmith's concept of "gebrauchmusik," or "utility music," which can have a specific musical purpose or be played by anyone. Only Haack, however, could come up with such a unique array of elements and blend them into something even more distinctive. ~ Heather Phares