Thanks to its ubiquity in kids’ music appreciation programs, Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf is easily one of the best-known pieces of orchestral music of the 20th Century. Even among those of us who don’t really know classical music in great depth, its main themes are instantly recognizable. As a broadly popular work that was in the USA’s public domain for many years (it’s not anymore, so if you’re an orchestra conductor, don’t go gettin’ any ideas) Peter has been copiously recorded, released, and adapted for other media, but the release that I suspect will be of the greatest interest to DM’s readers is the version I have, RCA’s 1978 LP—on green vinyl!—featuring an enchanting, beautifully recorded performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the great Hungarian-born conductor Eugene Ormandy, with narration by David Bowie.
Though the vinyl seems to have only ever been issued once, the recording remains widely available on CD—a quick perusal of Discogs reveals that it was issued on CD several times between 1992 and last year, with a frankly silly cover image of wolf ears collaged onto Mr. Bowie’s head.
We’ve heard lately that a few readers have had problems with Grooveshark embeds. If you’re among them and you want to hear this, there’s a YouTube playlist of the recording here. And if you don’t mind an abridged version (and you can endure an ad), you may enjoy this clever superimposition of the edited Bowie narration over a famous 1946 animated short.
Now, this has nothing to do with the Bowie version, but I don’t know when else I’m going to get to bring this up: if you still haven’t seen the 2006 stop-motion Peter and the Wolf by Suzie Templeton, you really need to do that as soon as possible. It’s free for streaming to Netflix and Amazon Prime subscribers (and a bargainous $2 for non-Prime users), and it is absolutely wonderful. I couldn’t find an embeddable version of the whole thing, but here’s a taste.