Peter and the Wolf

(Mar 3 2019)

I did not hear this until I was around age 16…

The version I heard was with Leonard Bernstein conducting and narrating. He was famous  for being a fine composer,  conductor, and pianist – what I call a “triple threat”. In addition, he was a fine teacher and was famous for “Young People’s Concerts”.

As a composer he was most famous for “The West Side Story”.

By the time I first heard this I was listening to very advanced, sophisticated music, things I believe most adults would be unable to connect with. But this famous piece by Prokoview did not bore me, and it still does not, so I think it’s good for people of any age. It is especially good for introducing the sound and appearance of different instruments to people.

I always felt very sorry for the poor duck!

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8 thoughts on “Peter and the Wolf

  1. The characters’ ‘instruments’ add a little more to each scene. We feel the scene because we know who goes with what. Speaking of that, the instruments portray their characters well. Although some were left out, these instruments would have no reason to be in this, or room to be there.

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    1. Actually, this leads into the whole idea of Leitmotivs. You can introduce a character with a theme (Star Wars), but the instruments you pick also are important. All this works together to set moods.

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  2. I especially liked this performance with Bernstein. I heard it as an adult, my children heard it when they were little and more than once. One of my relatives has performed the “grandfather” part, which tells you which instrument. 🙂 I went back to it so I could start hearing what the different instruments sound like, and then kept playing it just because I enjoy it.

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    1. I prefer the Bernstein version to, which is in YouTube. For younger students I’d like to find full animation, but with none of the music cut. Or perhaps another video showing the players more. I may switch the link if I find a better video.

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  3. I like the way Prokoviev used different instruments for each character. A great feature was the various instruments being shown as they played.

    Peter disobeyed his grandfather, but became a hero. Would his grandfather’s feelings have been different if Peter hadn’t caught the wolf?

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