Peter and the Wolf: A Special Report from NPR
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NPR Classics latest release Peter and the Wolf: A Special Report is an innovative CD creating an All Things Considered NPR News broadcast . The CD features All Things Considered hosts Robert Siegel and Linda Wertheimer narrating the updated story of a little boy named Peter. NPR reporters and correspondents including Ann Taylor, Sylvia Poggioli, Daniel Schorr and Susan Stamberg file clever "news reports."
In addition to the Prokofiev classic, the CD contains Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra narrated by Bob Edwards and Scott Simon along with other NPR personalities, and Saint Saens' Carnival of the Animals narrated by Lisa Simeone.
Music performed by the Virginia Symphony, JoAnn Falletta, conductor, with contributions from the Virginia Chamber Players and the Virginia Arts Festival.
All great fun!
The personalities behind some of National Public Radio's best-loved programs come together on Peter and the Wolf: A Special Report to give Prokofiev's masterpiece some clever contemporary updates. The results are funny, educational, and a joy for children and parents alike. Treating Peter and the Wolf's plot as though it were an episode on All Things Considered, Robert Siegel, Linda Wertheimer, Ann Taylor, Steve Inskeep, and other radio correspondents narrate while the Virginia Symphony plays the music. Kids may not appreciate all the humorous insertions that NPR has made to Prokofiev's work, but NPR aficionados will love every minute of it, and the music is infectious enough for anyone to appreciate. The rest of the disc features two more classical masterpieces embraced by children. Fred Child, host of Performance Today, narrates Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, and Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals is narrated by All Things Considered host Lisa Simeone. Proceeds from the sales of this disc support National Public Radio. Highly recommended. --Jason Verlinde
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The introductions by Peter Shickele for the Carnival of the Animals are also a nice change from the ordinary.
The musical elements are all well-performed and retain all their classic charm and humor.
The other tracks are musically very nice but are not useful for music classes (or for kids who have a hankering to listen to "the lion song" again) because they are each just one long track. This is a great cd if you just want to listen to it all the way through, but it's a big pain to fast forward or reverse to a particular instrument in the Guide or a particular animal in the Carnival.
I expected the introductions to the animals to be hilarious, because they were written by Mr. P.D.Q. Bach, but they were only mildly amusing. (ie. The elephant has a terrible cold, can't breathe, etc. Thinks he's dying so he gives away all his belongings. But he recovers! Moral: Just because your trunk is packed, doesn't mean you're ready to go.) The Ogden Nash poems are much funnier.
Maybe I sound overly picky, but my 2.5 yr old is obsessed and I hear this CD many, many, MANY times. By the way, the Sesame Street video with Elmo is really good. I've seen (or been in the room with) that one at least a hundred times and it's still amusing.