Sergei Prokofiev: Peter and The Wolf

I had a spirited discussion the other day on the FB page of a friend. She had remarked: “Is it possible that I have vague images in mind of Bugs Bunny when I hear the William Tell Overture being played on WQED fm?” Then today, another friend, a playwright, noted that he still believed in watching Bugs Bunny on Saturday mornings.

For me, Bugs Bunny cartoons introduced me to classical music, so I am forever indebted to them. I’ve written about some of these pieces, Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, The Barber of Seville, and Brahm’s Hungarian Dances, for example.

Today’s piece, Peter and the Wolf, was another piece that came to me in my childhood. We had an small portable record player when I was child in the 1960s, and my parents once brought home a number of used 45s and mini-33s that they had bought at a garage sale. One was Peter and the World and I listened to it over and over. It gave me lots of joy.

But on the FB discussion, a friend of a friend, said that the pairing of classical music ruined his appreciation of many works, and he would prefer only if composers chose to do the pairing.

On the one hand, I am grateful that such pairing exposed me to classical music and that sparked a life-long love of it. On the other hand, I almost became nauseous when I saw how Disney had set Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony in Fantasia to darling little centaurs that looked like My Little Pony. Much too saccharine.

And it might be worth noting, that though I loved Peter and the Wolf, it didn’t make me interested at all in Prokofiev. Maybe that’s because when I grew up, I pigeonholed it as children’s music. That’s a shame, because it kept me from exploring his work as deeply as I might have.

What’s your opinion on this?


About kurtnemes
Writer and Education Professional. Specialties include Ethics, Personal Memoir, Classical music, Tai Chi, Stress Reduction, Meditation, Coping, Classical Music, Aging, Love, Joy, Compassion and Equanimity (& what interests me.)

4 Responses to Sergei Prokofiev: Peter and The Wolf

  1. Jessica says:

    I think any pairing of any classical music with children’s stories and videos is good. If one can instill in children an association between a favorite childhood tale or character or show, which they will recall fondly in later years, how can that be bad? So much of “modern” music is a simple few chords over and over again with very little depth lyrically. The genius of classical music, on the other hand, goes on and on. It would be a shame if the only place we ever heard classical music was on the classical station or at the symphony.


  2. Gallivanta says:

    I heard this recording on the radio when I was young. It brings back memories of how important the radio was in our lives. I had (and still have) very little knowledge of music. I saw cartoons etc but I don’t remember associating any of them with classical music. Blissfully unaware, it would seem. My first real interest in classical music came when my brother was exposed to classical music at his boarding school and he would bring home new records and knowledge in the school holidays.


  3. My recording was with Peter Ustinov narrating. Having that record as a child led me to exolore some of the other items in my parents’ collection. Their surprise, arriving home one evening, to find their 11year old rapt in front of the record player listening to “The Rite of Spring” and Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite” was something to behold.


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