David Bowie

Peter and the Wolf – A Classical Masterpiece

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In 1936, in the USSR, Sergei Prokofiev was commissioned by Natalya Sats and the Central Children’s Theatre in Moscow to write a new musical symphony for children. The intent was to cultivate “musical tastes in children from the first years of school.”

I originally wrote about David Bowie’s narrated version with the Philadelphia Orchestra released in 1978 in one of my early blog posts: Soundtrack of my life – pt 2

I have always loved Peter and the Wolf and I was surprised to learn from wikipedia that the 29 minute piece has been recorded and narrated by the likes of Boris Karloff, Eleanor Roosevelt, Leonard Bernstein, and Sean Connery just to name a few.

Despite being a children’s story, it has resonated with me throughout my adulthood. I even changed my ringtone to the strings representing Peter as it’s an earworm that has stuck in my head for years.

Check out the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s version on YouTube below. Also you can stream the David Bowie narration on all the major music sites.

Soundtrack of my life – Pt. 2

The series of blog posts that I’m writing are chronological, beginning with the songs that marked my childhood and ending with the current music that defines my days and nights. Music is how I remember things – where I was, how I felt, what was going on and who was in my life. When I hear these songs, they transport me and they are the soundtrack of my life.

Welcome to Part 2. We’re in the mid 1970’s and for the next several posts I will be introducing the different styles of music that I listened to as a child and influenced my taste in music today. I also still listen to all the songs in the present day.

3. Joel Grey & Liza Minelli, Money (1972)

This is the first musical I remember listening to. My dad and I were on a road trip from New York to Florida. We played the cassette of the soundtrack to the film Cabaret over and over. This is not unusual. As a child I listened to the same albums on repeat.

During a stop for dinner I decided to march around and around the restaurant table singing over and over:

Money makes the world go around/ The world go around/ The world go around.

It’s a funny song and the chorus is quite child-friendly even if the movie is very adult-themed, with the Nazis and all.

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4. David Bowie, Introduction (1978)

David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf is a musical symphony for children and a beginner’s guide to the orchestra. David Bowie explains that each character in the story has a particular instrument and musical theme.

The bird = flute, duck = oboe, cat = clarinet, grandfather = bassoon, wolf = french horns, hunters = kettle drums, and Peter = strings. His theme is my favorite and I still find myself humming it as an adult.

I love the whole idea of Peter and the Wolf  and it’s so entertaining as well as educational. If I had children, this would be required listening at an early age.

I enjoy classical music and played classical Piano growing up. I’d like to think that this had some influence.

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