Brighton Secondary School - Year 8 Music - Peter and the Wolf
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev demonstrated remarkable musical ability at the tender age of five. A budding pianist and talented chess player, young Prokofiev studied composition privately with composer Reinhold Glière. During his studies, Prokofiev composed his first symphony and learned various composition techniques. Later in life, Prokofiev was introduced to another composer, Alexander Glazunov, who later encouraged Prokofiev to study composition and piano at the St.Petersburg Conservatory.
In 1936, Prokofiev was commissioned by the Central Children’s Theatre in Moscow to write a symphony for children. The Theatre asked Prokofiev to create a symphony that would “cultivate musical tastes in children from the first years of school.” To satisfy their request, Prokofiev composed Peter and the Wolf - a meticulously crafted composition that introduces children to instruments through story telling.
Prokofiev completed the score and narration for Peter and the Wolf in four days. The composition was premiered on May 2, 1936. The premier was not well attended and Prokofiev stated that the piece “failed to attract much attention”- hardly the case today!
Peter and the Wolf is scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, three horns, trumpet, trombone, timpani, triangle, tambourine, cymbals, castanets, snare drum, bass drum and strings. Each character in the story is represented by an instrument or group of instruments, and a musical theme.