Thursday, April 19, 2012

Maestro Classics,Peter and the Wolf Review with the London Philharmonic Orchestra,

Maestro Classics 
 London Philharmonic Orchestra, 
Peter and the Wolf 
By Sergei Prokofiev

When asked why Maestro Classics recorded their CDs with the London Philharmonic Orchestra the response was kids respond to greatness. I could not agree more. When I was a young girl growing up, way back before all the cuts on our youths' education were taken, schools used to expose children to the Arts. You know the classics, ballet, plays, opera and classical music. Not just recordings and videos (we had reel to reel back then), we were able to enjoy live performances. To this day I can remember going to see  Peter and the Wolf. I hope I never forget that experience it was magical as the conductor explained the story of how Peter (portrayed by a string quartet) disobeyed his grandfather (bassoon) and went out the garden gate followed by Sonia the duck (oboe) and encountering friends Sasha the bird (flute) and Ivan the cat (clarinet) then the WOLF (french horns) and finally the hunters (woodwind ensemble).  The magic happens because this story is told not only by narration but also music. As the conductor patiently explained the story line, the orchestra played each part for us so we could follow along and know who was who and what was going on. What he was doing for me was opening the doors of my imagination. I sat mesmerized as I imagined Peter going into the meadow joined by all his friends, Sasha the bird, Sonia the duck and Ivan the cat. I could see in my mind Peter encountering the wolf, poor Sonia being swallowed whole! The capture of the wolf and the hunters along with grandpa as they march victoriously into the village with the wolf and poor Sonia quacking softly in the wolfs belly because she was swallowed alive. 

As I listened to the story, then the explanation of the characters, the composer, the music and all the rest of the wonderful information packed into this CD. I was transported back to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion all those years ago, along with all my classmates and I experienced that magic again. I realized that this is a new way of bringing this very special story to the generations to come. Because of my diverse training as a child I grew up loving all genres of music, there isn't much I dislike. I in turn taught my children the love of music and my son is now a music major in college. To my family music is more then just a song, it is probably the only thing I know that can reach into a persons heart and take them to places in their past or to loved ones long gone. I want to thank Stephen and Bonnie Simon for endeavoring to bring so many of the classics to CD for us.

There are 8 parts to this CD most of it is about Peter and the Wolf however they include a Russian song Kalinka which was written in 1860, this song makes you want to get up and dance as it was intended to when it was written. The Simons also include an insert with some information about the Composer Sergei Prokofiev, some games, a musical score of Peter's tune, information about the narrator Yadu and the conductor Stephen Simon and his wife Bonnie Ward Simon the executive producer.

On Maestro Classics web site you will find an abundance of information about what they do, a kids club and educational materials all to help bring some of the classics back into our lives. You can also purchase all 9 of these very special stories which are available on their web site . If you purchase the entire set you can save $25.00. You can also find them on Amazon. Peter and the Wolf is available on CD or digital download.

Disclaimer: I did receive a sample of this CD so I could review it. However, I would never say I liked something if I did not. All opinions are my own.