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CD feature: Prokofiev "Peter and the Wolf"

img  Tobias

„Peter and the Wolf“ is one of those pieces that seems to belong to every generation. With versions recorded by David Bowie, Gavin Friday or a Klezmer-band, one has an agreeable choice of modern interpretations readily available. Still, deciding to buy this 50-year old version may be the best option.

That is, because “Peter and the Wolf” sounds best, when it is played and read for little children. Boris Karloff, who takes on narration-duties on this one, is the prototypical friendly grandpa, who has told this story a hundred times before but still revels in the same wonderous amazement as his audience. You could listen for hours to his warm voice and his gentle flow, which avoids any kind of over-interpretation. In fact, Karloff neither reads it like a fairy-tale (which is it isn’t anyway) nor like educational fiction (which should stay unnoticed anyway) but rather like a comic, where the music does the real talking. And just to remind you: The music still captivates one’s full attention. The way cat and bird play with each other, e.g. is incredibly vivid and a compositional master stroke and the themes are among Prokofiev’s best. Of course, the Vienna State Opera Orchestra doesn’t give things away and plays sensationally homogenous. The warm and deep overall sound, courtesy of Seymour Solomon himself, helps to strengthen this impression.

The same can not be said for the “Lt. Kije Smphonic Suite”, which still offers great music, but has not been (or could not be) restored in the same quality – there are many better versions of this one available. But then again, that’s not what you bought the album for in the first place.

Label: Silverline Classics

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