FEATURE: Peter and the Wolf
At Peace with the Wolf? Prokofiev’s “Official” Soviet Works for Children (Catriona Kelly)
Recollections of a collaboration: Natalia Sats and Serge Prokofiev (Edward Morgan)
Peter and the Wolf – children’s tale or
symphonic work? (NoŽlle Mann)
The recordings of Peter and the Wolf
FROM THE ARCHIVE
The draft of Prokofiev’s story,
Peter and the Wolf
First review of Peter and the Wolf:
Prokofiev’s Ballets for Diaghilev,
by Stephen D. Press
Suggestion Diabolique, by Martyn Harrison
The ballet Peter and the Wolf at the
Hackney Empire, London
PremiŤre of Peter and the Wolf animated film, London
Peter and the Wolf is one of those works which everybody knows but has never been comprehensively discussed or documented. Concentrating on the allegories they saw in the characters and the story, and reducing the music to a merely illustrative function, successive western biographers have scarcely touched on the work’s social and artistic context. The time has come to reconsider Peter and the Wolf, and in this issue, which marks the 70th anniversary of its birth, I am presenting an exciting dossier with a fresh and informed outlook.
Perhaps the most stimulating discussion, Catriona Kelly’s “At peace with the wolf?” makes fascinating reading. The author has thoroughly researched Soviet childhood over many years (see her biography for details of her forthcoming book), and her article offers deep insights into social and artistic issues in the 1930s. Particularly welcome is her discussion of past interpretations of Peter and the Wolf.
Michael Biel is the world’s authority on the recordings of Peter and the Wolf from its birth to today. His lively discussion is illustrated with rare and delightful images of record sleeves from all over the world, which he provided himself – my deepest thanks to him for sharing with us some of his extraordinary collection, the most comprehensive in the world.
Edward Morgan once more provides a wide range of documents in translation, as part of his discussion of Natalia Sats’s collaboration with Prokofiev. Like Michael Biel, he offered samples of his unique collection of Russian and Soviet postcards to illustrate Sats’s activities at the Central Children’s Theatre – for which I am most grateful.
My own discussion of Prokofiev’s involvement with oral poetry as both a writer and composer, and two concert reviews, complete this anniversary issue.
I have great news for those of you who have been waiting for a translation of Prokofiev’s much quoted Diary (1907-1933). Faber & Faber has released the first of three volumes of Sergey Prokofiev Diaries (1907-1914), in a perceptive translation by Anthony Phillips, who also provides useful and thorough annotations. This is a magnificent book, both in looks and content, which any Prokofievian must acquire. Do not miss Faber’s advertisement in this issue (and the discount to which you are entitled as subscribers).