Music Classics for Children (Review)

Friday, October 30, 2015

When I was offered the chance to review Peter and the Wolf, written & composed by Sergei Prokofiev, and presented by Maestro Classics, I was intrigued.  I love orchestra music & my children love listening to stories, so I thought the combination of the London Philharmonic Orchestra  & an exciting narration by Yadu (Dr. Conrad Czynski)  would really make the story come to life.  It didn't disappoint and we have & will continue to listen to this.
Maestro Classics Review
Maestro Classics offers stories in music, specialising in classical stories especially for children. They currently have 12 titles available in either CD format or as an MP3 download.  We were given an MP3 download of Peter and the Wolf. I downloaded it onto my laptop & my children & I listened to it completely in one sitting.  The complete MP3 is 62:16 minutes long & contained 8 separate sections:
1. Peter and the Wolf Intro - In this section the narrator introduces himself as well as the Maestro.  It introduces the setting, the characters & the concept that a separate instrument represents each character.
2.  Peter and the Wolf - This is the actual story which includes both the narration & the music.  
3.  About the Composer -  This introduces Sergei Prokofiev, the composer of  Peter and the Wolf.  It gives a brief biography of this well known composer, and an outline of how he came to write a musical classic for children which has stood the test of time.
4. A Russian Peter -  This section is a musical version of the orchestration of Peter and the Wolf using traditional Russian styling in the music.  
5. About the Music - This is presented by the conductor Stephen Simon. This section looks further into the music of each character as well as the overall music for Peter and the Wolf. It also introduces the listener to some basic musical terminology. 
6.  Peter and the Wolf - Orchestra Only - This is simply the orchestra playing the music for Peter and the Wolf without any accompanying narration. 
7. Invitation to Grandfather's Party - this is a very short extension to the story.
8. Kalinka - This section contains some Russian music. This will get your toes tapping & your fingers snapping!  It is a wonderful finish to the audio presentation!
Also included in the MP3 is a booklet that contains a brief biography of both  the composer & conductor, some information on some of the Russian folk instruments you will hear  and also various activities for the children to complete related to the story of Peter and the Wolf.  It includes a few short sections of musical score should the child wish to learn to play some of the composition they have been listening to!
Maestro Classics Review
Peter and the Wolf was written by Sergei Prokofiev specifically to introduce children to the orchestra.  It does an excellent job of this.  The additional commentary within this recording really enhances the experience for the listener. It is both informative & entertaining.  The sections are quite short, which keeps the listener attentive & interested.  While this was especially written for children, adults will also appreciate both the story & the commentary (I know I sure did).   We really enjoyed this version of Peter and the Wolf & will continue to listen to it over & over again! 
There is also a free curriculum guide available for Peter and the Wolf  found on the Maestro Classic website.  This covers History, Science, Geography, Language Arts, Art, Music & Maths.  
Maestro Classics can be found at:
Maestro Classics Review
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