Notes & Reviews:
The new DG recording of Peter and the Wolf offers a fresh take on Prokofiev's beloved classic. Developed by the New York production company Giants are Small with the Prokofiev Foundation's blessing, a newly written 30-min prequel extends Peter and the Wolf to a one-hour piece for the first time. Narrated by rock legend Alice Cooper and performed by Germany's National Youth Orchestra under conductor Alexander Shelley, this new interpretation is made for both the young and young at heart.
Peter and the Wolf In Hollywood
Gramophone Magazine - Jeremy Nicholas
From DG comes 'a bold reimagining of the beloved children's classic, brought spectacularly into the 21st century', as the disc's blurb has it. This prequel to Prokofiev's children's classic, co-written and conceived by three Americans collectively known as Giants Are Small, has poor little orphan Peter flying from Russia to Los Angeles to live with his grandfather, an ageing hippie ('cool, man') who works as a gardener in the grounds of a movie star's house. A wolf escapes from a local zoo, Peter builds a robot to capture it and... well, I won't spoil it for you. Nearly 25 minutes of bits and bobs of (mainly) core classical works are used to illustrate this Hollywood section before it flows seamlessly via Smetana's 'Vltava' into Prokofiev's familiar story and music. Well, up to a point. We are still in Hollywood: for '[duck] pond' read '[swimming] pool', while Prokofiev's huntsmen, emerging from the wood with their guns, become paparazzi 'following the trail of the wolf, shooting as they went'.
It is all rather charming, and an imaginative addition to an old favourite (both sections, by the way, further enlivened by vivid sound effects). Alice Cooper, 'the Godfather of Shock Rock', would seem to an improbable choice for narrator but, now 67 and the father of four children, he knows how to do a bedtime reading.
The music is played by the crisp and characterful National Youth Orchestra of Germany under the excellent Alexander Shelley (son of Howard). Will this modern fable followed by Prokofiev's classic captivate today's youngsters and get them hooked on classical music? Not for want of trying. Put it under the Christmas tree to find out.Notes & Reviews:
Recording information: Funkhaus Berlin Nalepastraáe (04/2014); London, 5A Studios (04/2014); Probenstudio Stolberger Straáe, Cologne (04/2014); Funkhaus Berlin Nalepastraáe (06/2015); London, 5A Studios (06/2015); Probenstudio Stolberger Straáe, Cologne (06/2015); Funkhaus Berlin Nalepastraáe (09/2014); London, 5A Studios (09/2014); Probenstudio Stolberger Straáe, Cologne (09/2014).
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Works DetailsSmall, Giants Are : Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood, for narrator & orchestra
- Performers: Cristina Aragon (Voice); Doug Fitch (Voice)
- Conductor: Alexander Shelley
- Ensemble: Bundesjugendorchester
- Running Time: 23 min. 38 sec.
- Period Time: Contemporary
Prokofiev, Sergey : Peter and the Wolf, children's tale for narrator & orchestra, Op. 67
- Conductor: Alexander Shelley
- Running Time: 23 min. 8 sec.
- Period Time: Modern
- Written: 1936