Teenage Wildlife

David Bowie Narrates Prokofiev's Peter And The Wolf - The Single

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A one-off narration of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf by David.


  1. David Bowie narrates Prokofiev's "Peter And The Wolf"
  2. Benjamin Britten's "Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra"
Release Details
Released by RCA Red Seal in the UK, May 1978
Catalogue number: RL-12743
Released in green plastic limited edition
Jay David Saks
David Bowie: narrator
Eugene Ormandy: conductor
The Philadelphia Orchestra

The Story

This is the story of Peter and the wolf. Each character in this tale is going to be represented by a different instrument of the orchestra. For instance, the bird will be played by the flute, like this. Here's the duck, played by the oboe. The cat, by the clarinet. The bassoon will represent grandfather. The wolf, by the French horns. And Peter, by the strings. The blast of the hunters shotguns, played by the kettle drums. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin. Early one morning. Peter opened the gate and went out to the big green meadow. On a branch of a big tree sat a little bird, Peter's friend. "All is quiet, all is quiet!", chirped the bird gaily. Yes, all is quiet. Just then a duck came waddling round. She was glad Peter hadn't closed the gate and decided to take a nice swim in the deep pond in the meadow. Seeing the duck, the little bird flew down upon the grass, settled next to her and shrugged his shoulders. "What kind of bird are you, if you can't fly?", said he. To this the duck replied: "What kind of bird are you, if you can't swim?" and dived into the pond. They argued and argued, the duck swimming in the pond and the little bird hopping along the shawl. Suddenly something caught Peter's attention: it was a cat crawling through the grass. The cat thought: "The bird is busy arguing, I'll just grab him.". Stowfully, she crept towards him on her velvet paws. "Look out!", shouted Peter and the bird immediately flew up into the tree. While the duck quaked angrily at the cat from the middle of the pond. The cat walked around the tree and thought: "Is it worth climbing up so high? By the time I get there, the bird would have flown away...". Just then, grandfather came out. He was angry, because Peter had gone into the meadow. "It's a dangerous place! If a wolf should come out of the forest, then what would you do?". But Peter paid no attention to his grandfather's words. Boys like Peter aren't afraid of wolves. But grandfather took Peter by the hand, locked the gate and led him home. No sooner Peter had gone, then a big, grey wolf came out of the forest. In a twinkling, the cat climbed up into the tree. The duck quaked and in her excitement jumped out of the pond. But no matter how hard the duck tried to run, she couldn't escape the wolf. He was getting nearer... nearer... catching up with her... And then he got her and with one gulp swallowed her! And now this is how things stood. The cat was sitting on one branch. The bird on another, not too close to the cat. And the wolf walked round and round the tree, looking at them with greedy eyes. In the meantime, Peter, without the slightest fear, stood behind the closed gate, watching all that was going on. He ran home, got a strong rope and climbed up the high stone wall. One of the branches of the tree, around which the wolf was walking, stretched out over the wall. Grabbing hold of the branch, Peter lightly climbed over on to the tree. Peter said to the bird: "Fly down and circle round the wolf's head, only take care that he doesn't catch you!". The bird almost touched the wolf's head with its wings, while the wolf snapped angrily at him from this side and that. How that bird teased the wolf, how that wolf wanted to catch him! But the bird was clever and the wolf simply couldn't do anything about it. Meanwhile, Peter made a lasso are carefully letting it down... and down... and down... caught the wolf by the tail and pulled with all his might. Feeling himself caught, the wolf began to jump wildly, trying to get loose. But Peter tied the other end of the rope to the tree. And the wolf's jumping only made the rope round his tail tighter. Just then, the hunters came out of the woods, following the wolf's trail and shooting as they went. But Peter, sitting in the tree, said: "Don't shoot, birdie and I have already caught the wolf! Now help us taking him to the zoo!". Now just imagine, just imagine the triumphant procession. Peter of the head. After him, the hunters, leading the wolf. And winding up the procession, grandfather and the cat. Grandfather shook his head discontentedly: "Where and if Peter hadn't caught the wolf, what then..?". Above them flew birdie, chirping merrily: "My, what brave fellows we are, Peter and I! Look what we have caught!". And if one would listen carefully, he could hear the duck quaking inside the wolf, because the wolf, in his hurry, had swallowed her alive!


  • Probably the most unlikely Bowie project thus far: a straightforward and charming performance of the narration to Prokofiev's immortal orchestral work for children recorded for his son Zowie and for Zowie's contemporaries everywhere. Unremittingly delightful, and sure to supplant past performances by Danny Kaye, Peter Ustinov et al in the affections of primary-school teachers and their pupils. A limited number of initial pressings were on emerald green plastic.
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This document last updated Wednesday, 28-Apr-1999 11:17:55 EDT
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