Prokofiev’s orchestral composition/children’s story Peter and the Wolf is familiar to everyone who had to take music appreciation as a schoolkid: briefly, a young boy named Peter and his animal friends are spending a day by his grandfather’s pond when a wolf attacks. Peter, with his ingenuity and some help from a bird, captures the wolf, beating a group of hunters to the prize, and the story ends with a parade as the wolf is carted off to a zoo. Every character has a distinct musical theme played on a different instrument, and Peter’s theme alone is surely one of the the most recognizable pieces of classical music from the 20th Century.
If you’re feeling like a quick-and-dirty head trip, by all means visit Peter and the Wolf’s Wikipedia page and hit ‘play’ on all the themes at once.
Another highly worthy Prokofiev head trip was released in 1975—an art rock Peter and the Wolf featuring a laundry list of British pysch, blues, and prog luminaries. The narrator was the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band’s Viv Stanshall, in a remarkably subdued performance. The various themes were performed by Manfred Mann, Chris Spedding, and Stephane Grappelli, among others. Already pretty cool right there, but the wolf was memorably performed by Brian Eno, and the hunters were played by a quartet of prog drummers—Jon Hiseman, Cozy Powell, Bill Bruford and Phil Collins.
Keep reading after the jump…