Thursday, May 5, 2011

Peter and the Wolf

How many kids' first introduction to classical music is Peter and the Wolf? It seems as if everyone under the sun has recorded the narration for it, from Eleanor Roosevelt to Sharon Stone to Captain Kangaroo. My favorite version as a kid, narrated by Sterling Holloway, was Walt Disney's. I love this video of the maestro casually banging out all the themes:

The background story of the piece is fascinating. As Sara Fishko writes on

"Although the story sparkles with innocence, the times in which Prokofiev wrote it were far from cheerful. It was 1936, and the composer had just decided to move back to Moscow after spending years abroad in New York and Paris. Harlow Robinson, Prokofiev's biographer, says it was an uneasy time, as Stalin's purges and the show trials of the early Bolsheviks were about to begin. The atmosphere was already changing in 1936, and that was something obviously Prokofiev was not counting on or thinking about when he went back."

Read the whole story at 'Peter And The Wolf' Turns 75.

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