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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Peter and The Wolf CD (album) cover

PETER AND THE WOLF

Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)

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Chris S
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Yes this is excellent progressive material from the mid 1970's. A stunning LP package too with full storylines and inner booklet. I have to also add that the narration by Viv Stanshall is perfect, leaving a hint of the fact that this rendition of Peter And The Wolf was delivered by a liberal bunch of great rock musicians. It has humour, great narration and musically it is very very slick. I am not sure if this lost jewel is on CD yet, thankfully my Vinyl version is still in mint condition. The drumming by Collins and the late Cozy Powell is remarkable. the guitar work by Chris Spedding and Alvin Lee really works a treat. The music attributed to the various scenes is well delivered and accurate. Just listen to ' Cat Dance' and Viv Stanshall's satisfied burps on ' Cat and Duck'. As I say rare precious events like these put down on vinyl or CD are hard to come by and this work is a real treasure.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#18127)
Posted Thursday, September 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
aliceofarabia
4 stars This recording is huge fun, and musically excellent. Peter and the Wolf has always been the perfect tale for a winter's evening, and this version with a prog rock slant doesn't disappoint. Superb stuff from Gary Moore, Cozy Powell, and of course a cracking narration from the wonderful Viv Stanshall. If you find this, guard it like gold-dust!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#18128)
Posted Wednesday, October 13, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Having recieved the whole album on MP3 format, I am totally amazed how this album of great artists of the 1970s is not on CD yet.

Each musician plays to his best of his ability and it shows, and having Viv Stanshall is narrator is ideal.

I suggest that you check every record fair to get hold of this gem, you will not be disappointed.

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Send comments to Frippertron (BETA) | Report this review (#18131)
Posted Saturday, February 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars I saw this album a couple decades ago resting on the jazz shelf of a commercial record store, section I don't usually look at, but something I still don't know made me take a look, so I stopped to read the credits, I couldn't believe my eyes, Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, Cozy Powell, Brian Eno, Chris Spedding, Manfred Mann and even the crazy Viv Stanshal in the narrations, without haven't heard a single note I bought it (This was usual when there was no Internet or MP3), even when it was classified as Jazz, genre that's not my cup of tea, mostly because it was very cheap being that the only copy had several months in the store.

I was not disappointed despite the fact that I was familiar to Prokofiev's version and expected something much more closer to the original, what is not exactly the case because even when the structure is very similar to the original being that each musician takes the role of a character, the instruments used are completely different, don't expect to find oboes as in the original work, but be sure that the instrumentation and even the vocals are perfect for the new version.

What I can't assure is if it's closer to Rock, Prog or Jazz, because all the genres and styles gently blend one with the other as if they were created to be listened together in one work, and everybody will agree that the balance is perfect and the music is outstanding, so it's worth the price paid for it despite the genre.

I simply love Manfred Mann's keyboard interpretation of Peter, absolutely jazzy but with a perfect touch of his classic style, Peter's Theme is one of the strongest tracks of the album, but it's also important to notice the excellent work done by Gary Moore and Chris Spedding as The Duck plus the excellent track The Hunters with the impeccable drums work

Of course nothing would be the same without the perfect narration by the amazing Viv Stanshal from The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, who gives the credibility required for the role with his perfect accent as if he would left behind his days of craziness and adventures with Keith Moon, but without loosing his sense of humor including burps and satiric phrases.

It's not easy to write much more about this album, because there are hundreds of small details that must be appreciated by the individual listener and many more that surely I can't describe with my modest English, but part of the fun is to discover new things each and every time you play the album instead of reading about them.

If you got it, take good care because it's hard to find, but if you don't, use any available contact and buy it, it's a must have. Five solid stars.

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Send comments to Ivan_Melgar_M (BETA) | Report this review (#18132)
Posted Wednesday, March 09, 2005 | Review Permalink
greenback
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a progressive rock/hard rock/fusion music adapted for the "Peter & the Wolf" fairy tale. When most of the Brand X members including Phil Collins play on this record, it is quite correct to think this is a Brand X album. There are however slight nuances and additions, given that so many further musicians are involved and since the Brand X musicians do not play all together all the time: Manfred Mann, Brian Eno, Stephane Grappelli, Bill Bruford, Alvin Lee and Cozy Powell among others. There is a French narrator speaking before each track begins(I own the French version). Already on the first track, one can recognize Collins' flamboyant drums and Manfred Mann's weird moog solos. The electric guitars often sound slightly country, and others have a nervous wah-wah effect. Grapelli's catchy and melodic violins are remarkable. One of the best track is definitely "Threnody for a duck", a VERY POIGNANT & melodic male + female choir gracefully & solemnly sing in a mourning manner. There are well succeeded cat meows produced by brilliant moog-like keyboards, probably played by Manfred Mann. There is even a orchestral fanfare, followed by a rhythmic piano + inoffensive electric guitar oriented pop rock tune, having as lead vocals a mix of Supertramp's and Rush's singers. I noticed that after the fanfare track, the mood is a bit less interesting, being more pop rock and less fusion or progressive.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Send comments to greenback (BETA) | Report this review (#18133)
Posted Friday, April 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpää
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I got this as a vinyl copy without knowing about the content, but the numerous promising names and a funny theme for a prog LP made me to purchase it. Luckily! The late Viv Stanshall narrates the musical story of Peter and the Wolf, with major and minor collaborations of musicians like Manfred Mann, Gary Brooker, Gary Moore, Alvin Lee, Brian Eno, Keith Tippet, Bill Bruford & Cozy Powell for example.

My friend said that the record resembles like an "intelligent children's music". I guess most of us have a little (or big) child hidden inside us, so if you are interested by the works of the musicians included in this record, get it!

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#39604)
Posted Saturday, July 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
iscovino@roge
5 stars I originally had this album in German, and it blew me away - to finally find it in english is amazing - this album is a great showcase for incorporating narrative with inventive jamming. I have played my Kids - Jeff Wayne's War of the wolrds and they loved it - this works well in this series. It is a great way to get kids into progressive music as well as reading - I wish there were more CDS like this incorporating great works of literature with hot music.

You can now order this album directly from Jack Lancaster on his Verdant records - check out his website.

If anybody knows of great literature put to music on CD - let me know.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#44749)
Posted Monday, August 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Brand X, meets Eno, Keith Tippett, Chris Spedding, and that guy who joined up with Jethro Tull's first guitarist (Jack Lancaster, in Bloodwyn Pig)? Ok, but French Jazz violist extraordinaire, Stephan Grappelli??? Bill Bruford's here, too. This must be one of my weird progressive music dreams. Maybe you've had them. You go into a record store you've never been to before, you start browsing, and you find a bunch of stuff you never knew existed. This album actually predates Brand X by one year, but all the original suspects are here, Robin Lumley, John Goodsall, Percy Jones, Phil Collins. If I'm leaving any of the other musicians here out, it's only for out of lack of personal familarity.

Lancaster has apparently started his own independent label called Verdant Records. This one and Marscape are available in CD-R format.

I have to confess I am not as familiar with the original Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev, these days but I do remember it vaguely from my childhood. I can't comment on this interpretation compared to the original classical piece, but I can certainly attest to high progressive level of the music. The Grappelli/Brand Xian jam, Cat & Duck is simply amazing. Haven't hear Grappelli rock like this since Jazz Violin Summit with Jean-Luc Ponty.

This one's not quite as good as the other Lancaster/Lumley album (that I know of), Marscape, which came out the same year as Unorthodox Behaviour (1976). I'll have to shave off a fraction of a star less than half for the track and round the 3.5, Rock & Roll Celebration (reminds me of Spock's Beard's Running Up That Hill, for better or worse). It doesn't fit well with the rest of music. I was ten years old when this came out, but heard it for the first time recently. I'm a huge fan of Marscape, which has been in my collection for many years. Not entirely clear if this one was intended for adults, but if you have young kids, this might help you to get them hooked on prog.

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#126341)
Posted Tuesday, June 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I gotta say, when i checked this site and in one of my searching days i saw that Brand X had done a progressive conceptual album that told the story of Peter and The Wolf, I thought "well this might be amusing and interesting!" And hell it is!!! When I acquired this album i listened some times over and over again, and although nowadays it isn't playing regurarly in my computer I found it well written and well played, and interesting to hear. I would advice this to children since it tell a nice story known by us all and that we normally read it when we're between the five and nine years, but as a concept album and musically it works in giving the atmosphere for the characters. When Peter appears he has a theme song, that whenever he appears in the story(in the album) it is played again, same with the rest of the characters! At least, do yourself a favor and check this out, Its not a masterpiece or an essential album, but its a fun album and amusing, and a welcome addition to everyone's collection.

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Send comments to LeInsomniac (BETA) | Report this review (#130063)
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars In this version, Peter never meets the wolf!

While other similar types of work such as Steve Hackett's "Genesis revisited", Ayreon's "Human Equation", and Jeff Wayne's "War of the worlds" tend to be credited to the individual who takes on the lead role, it appears that this truly is a "Various artists" effort. The list of people who appear is like a who's who of 1970's rock, including the likes of Phil Collins, Gary Moore, Bill Bruford, Manfred Mann, Gary Brooker, Brian Eno, Cozy Powell and Jon Heisman. That said, the man behind the project is in fact Jack Lancaster, probably best known for his time in Jethro Tull offshoot Blodwyn Pig. Lancaster also worked with Brand X, many of whose members appear at various points.

The music is based around Prokofiev's classical composition of the same name, with Lancaster and his co-composer Robin Lumley adding pieces as they deem required. Prokofiev's piece in it's classical form has become popular with schools who use it to teach children about the various instruments which appear in an orchestra. Indeed, the composer originally wrote it for his own children. The different sections of the orchestra (classical version) or artists (this version) take on the role of characters, each having their own distinctive sound. Here, the predominance of drummers among the guests in perhaps a warning for those of us who feel drums should simply be used to provide a rhythm.

Peter is represented by the synthesisers of Manfred Mann, his theme being instantly familiar as one of those classical themes you recognise but cannot necessarily name. Viv Stanshall narrates throughout, his performance being deadpan and devoid of any of the humour which one might expect. I have never been a fan of Stephane Grappelli's violin style, and here he takes the opportunity to deviate well away from Prokofiev's composition into avant-garde jazz. When Henry Lowther takes over on violin for the following "Cart and duck", the results are equally indulgent. Fortunately, Jack Lancaster and Gary Moore pulls things back together on "Grandfather", a fine duet between sax and guitar. Eno's performance as The Wolf sees him giving one of his most dynamic and energetic displays, possibly ever.

Towards the end, we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a straight rock and roll song "Rock and roll celebration" sung by Bernie Frost, which is completely out of place and serves only to destroy any mood created up to this point.

There does seem to be an irritating tendency here to stray from the composer's original intentions for the piece. For example, as mentioend above, the main character "Peter" is played by Manfred Mann. In the original orchestral score he is played by the string section. Mann however disappears completely after the second track, Peter apparently being represented thereafter by a variety of performers and instruments. Peter (Mann) and the wolf (Eno) do not therefore appear on the same track, or indeed anywhere near each other, at any point.

Some performers, such as Alvin Lee, Julie Tippett the English Chorale, do not play parts as such, but are used in a purely musical context to embellish the sound.

Overall, this album can be assessed on various levels. As an interpretation of the composer's original piece it is loose, straying regularly into improvisation and new compositions. As such, it fails to capture the essence of the original composition. Taken as an album in its own right and judged on its own merits, the album is enjoyable and varied, but I do find it to be somewhat disjointed with sections falling short of full development. The constant interruptions of the narrator quickly become irritating and superfluous.

Although the cardboard shortage (sic) of the time meant that the album did not come in a gatefold sleeve, it is still lavishly packaged with a wonderfully illustrated LP sized booklet.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#141948)
Posted Thursday, October 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
FruMp
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars An all-star disappointment.

I was expecting great things from this album after seeing some laudatory reviews on the site and learning of the all-star lineup reading like a who's who of prog. Unfortunately I was quite disappointed, the album is quite cheesy (some of the silly voices get annoying), it's amazingly short given it's trying to tell a story and doesn't really grab hold of any great moments and it is quite poppy a lot of the time. Peter's theme is a decent song but the rest of the album just seems a bit downhill and lackluster from there.

Approach with caution.

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Send comments to FruMp (BETA) | Report this review (#143797)
Posted Friday, October 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I bought this CD when I read the musicians involved. The people in this album make it a real gem. The narration by Viv Stanshall is clear and vivid. The music is excelent. The only wrong in this CD lasts nearly 39 min, which leave you the feeling of I want more. In my opinion, this is an great disk (not necessarily progressive) and an excelent introduction to rock for kids (my 3 years-old son really like it).

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Send comments to EPC (BETA) | Report this review (#168377)
Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Peter and the Wolf" is a concept album featuring various artists. The album was released through the RSO label in 1975. It can loosely be described as a rock/progressive rock version of Russian composer Sergej Prokofiev's classical children's composition from 1936 "Peter and the Wolf". The original 1975 version of the album included a 12 page booklet containing the story and illustrations. The idea for the album was developed by clarinet player Jack Lancaster and keyboard player Robin Lumley. Both are responsible for re-arranging some of Prokofiev's original pieces and both have also contributed with original compositions. The cast of players feature artists like Gary Brooker, Gary Moore, Mannfred Mann, Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, Cozy Powell, John Goodsall, Alvin Lee, Keith Tippett and Brian Eno among others.

The album varies between short spoken tracks featuring narrator Vivian Stanshall and energetic instrumental fusion/progressive rock tracks. Sometimes the tracks seem slightly underdeveloped and some of them end too quick to really make a lasting impression, but the music is still enjoyable while it plays. With seasoned musicians, like the above mentioned playing, it's no wonder the performances are strong. Like the case was with Prokofiev's original version each instrument is assigned to a character in the story. For example Brian Eno's synths play the role of the wolf and the various drummers on the album play the roles of the hunters.

The sound production is professional and suits the music well, which is just another testimony to the high quality nature of "Peter and the Wolf". Honestly I do feel the album lacks a bit of depth, but it sure is both fun and entertaining while it plays. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#1012322)
Posted Wednesday, August 07, 2013 | Review Permalink

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