March In B Flat, op.99: March In B Flat, op.99 - Allegro
Peter And The Wolf Op. 67 A Musical Tale For Children: 'Let Me Tell You A Story'
Peter And The Wolf Op. 67 A Musical Tale For Children: 'Early One Morning Peter Opened The Gate...' Andantino
Peter And The Wolf Op. 67 A Musical Tale For Children: 'On A Branch Of A Big Tree Sat A Little Bird, Peter's Friend.' Allegro - Andantino, come prima
Peter And The Wolf Op. 67 A Musical Tale For Children: 'Just Then A Duck Came Waddling Round.' L'istesso tempo
Peter And The Wolf Op. 67 A Musical Tale For Children: 'Suddenly Something Caught Petter's Attention: He Noticed A Cat...' Moderato - Allegro, ma non troppo - Moderato
Peter And The Wolf Op. 67 A Musical Tale For Children: 'Grandfather Came Out.' Poco Piu andante - Andantino, Come Prima - Andante -Andante
Peter And The Wolf Op. 67 A Musical Tale For Children: 'No Sooner Had Peter Gone, Than A Big Grey Wolf Came Out Of The Forest...' Andante molto - Nervoso - Allegro - Meno mosso - Andante - Allegretto - Moderato
Peter And The Wolf Op. 67 A Musical Tale For Children: 'Peter, In The Meantime, Stood Behind The Closed Gate...' Andantino, come prima - Vivo - Andante molto - Vivo - Andante
Peter And The Wolf Op. 67 A Musical Tale For Children: 'Meanwhile, Peter Made A Lasso With His Rope, Carefully Letting It Down...' Poco meno mosso - Moderato (Meno mosso)
Peter And The Wolf Op. 67 A Musical Tale For Children: 'Just Then...Out Of The Woods Came The Hunters.'
Overture On Hebrew Themes Op.34b: Un Poco Allegro
Classical Symphony Op. 25: 1. Allegro
Classical Symphony Op. 25: 2. Larghetto
Classical Symphony Op. 25: 3. Gavotta: Non troppo allegro
Classical Symphony Op. 25: 4. Finale: Molto Vivace
Picture this: It's family vacation time. You're in the car, 500 miles to go, kids are screaming "Are we there yet?", and you aren't lucky enough to own a car TV/DVD. You want to keep them occupied, but listening to "Barney Sing-alongs" one more time will make you go postal.
THIS IS THE CURE!
Sergei Prokofiev composed this piece to introduce young people to the symphony. Though Disney did animate the piece several decades ago, it still works best as an audio-only experience -- one that forces the child to be quiet, and listen closely so that the story can unfold within the boundless realms of their rich imaginations.
If you know the story, each of the characters are portrayed by instruments of the orchestra (Bird=flute, cat=clarinet, duck=oboe). Sting enhances and brings fresh perspective to this tale, adding vocal characterizations that make it more than just a narrative -- it is more of a one-man dramatic reading with Sting playing all the parts. (Sting actually rehearsed for the part by playing many versions of previous recordings, and noting how his own chidren reacted). The music serves as score/soundtrack to this dramatic reading, making it a wonderful listening experience to share with children.
My own daughter (age four) likes to act out many of the scenes herself as she listens, and often runs for protection into the safety of my arms when the wolf appears.
Buy this, and years from now when you and your children have grown older, like Chistmas Eve's, and Thanksgiving Dinner's, you will each recall with much joy, the quality time you spent together experiencing this timeless classic.
PS - It's now 2006, and my 4 year old is now 10, but true to my predictions we read this review together and she nodded in agreement...it's an experience she already treasures, and one we've introduced her younger sister to."
Great fun for kids
Linda A. Kidwell | Laramie, WY | 02/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This rendition of Peter and the Wolf is lots of fun. Sting uses different voices for each character, but I only wish we heard more from the duck (his best). As a Police fan of old, I get a kick out of hearing Sting's very proper British accent. The music is likewise wonderful, and my children enjoy chasing each other around the house playing and singing the different animals. The only complaint I have is that the range of dynamics is too broad. If you play it loud enough to hear the narration, the bird (flute), and cat (clarinet) clearly, then the wolf (horn section) is too loud for comfort. When I listen in the car, I have to keep my hand near the volume dial. Still, the overall quality of this recording is excellent, and I highly recommend it."
Sting not only for children
Linda A. Kidwell | 06/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sting, the former singer of one of Rocks most successsful groups The Police, joined the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Claudio Abbado to narrate this long-time children's classic. Being a former elementary teacher and father of four, Sting is able to tell the story in a gripping and convincing way. This is a great CD, not only for children, but also for their Sting-loving parents. P.S.: In 1985 Sting also recorded the song Russians, which is based on another Prokofiev melody from Lieutenant Kije."
Erik North | San Gabriel, CA USA | 09/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though at times overshadowed by fellow Russian-born composers Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and Rachmaninoff when it comes to 20th century music, Sergei Prokofiev demonstrated that he had a place in the music of that war-riddled century. This can be clearly demonstrated on this recording by Claudio Abbado and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe of four of this composer's works, two of which have always held permanent places in the repertoire.
Both the Overture On Hebrew Themes and the March In B Flat are shorter works, with the overture being the product of Prokofiev's association with fellow Russians in New York who introduced him to Jewish tunes, and the March seeming to be a concession to that great sage of Iron Curtain political correctness, Joseph Stalin. But while they are shorter pieces, and thus overshadowed by the other two works on the CD, they are fine examples of Prokofiev's experimental style and his ability to conform (whenever possible) with the desires of the Soviet state.
Of course "Peter And The Wolf" has held a place in many people's hearts because it was a work that exposed children to classical music for the first time via its story of a young boy who takes it upon himself to hunt for a dangerous wolf. Each character is represented by different instruments (or groups thereof) in the orchestra, while a narrator (in this case, former Police frontman Sting) depicts the proceedings through the medium of the spoken word.
Then there's the composer's crisp Symphony No. 1, the "Classical Symphony", so-called because Prokofiev wanted to see if he could create a 20th century symphony that utilized the capacities found in the late 18th century symphonies of Haydn and Mozart. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, as the symphony became one of the most popular of its type and its century.
Abbado and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe bring Prokofiev's four creations to vivid life, with Sting's narration of "Peter And The Wolf" being very lively (and matching his fellow Brit David Bowie's 1977 narration of the work with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra). The March and the Hebrew Themes overture are handled with a not insubstantial amount of wit, and the interpretation here of the Classical Symphony matches three other interpretations in my collection (Previn's L.A. Philharmonic recording of 1986; Gerard Schwarz's L.A. Chamber Orchestra recording of 1980; and Bernstein's 1968 version with his New York Philharmonic). Very highly recommended."
Sting was the only disappointment
R. Stonecipher-Fisher | GA, USA | 12/12/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Growing up with the 1963 DG recording of Peter and the Wolf performed by the French National Orchestra and narrated by Alec Clunes soured me on this rendition. I would say, however, that all of the performances without Sting's over-the-top narration are fabulous. The performance of the music in the story portion was on the same level as that in the older recording, but with a sound that suggested a lot of post-production level mixing (which is a bit of a turn-off in classical.) It was Sting's rewording and overacting that really killed the story portion of this album."