genre: prog, rock symphony
quality: lossless (flac, cue, log, scans)
time: 38'26" size: 218 mb
The original, classical version of Peter And The Wolf was composed by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev in 1936, and premiered on the 2nd May of that year. The original idea behind this creation was to combine the folk tale of Peter And The Wolf with a series of classical instruments, each interpreting a particular character in the tale. The tale is told through the eyes of a narrator who explains the story which is then interpreted by the various cast of musical instruments.
In 1975, a rock version of Peter And The Wolf was released with the majority of arrangements done by Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley. The whole album was built around the original classical compositions by Prokofiev, though rock instruments represented the characters this time round. What one gets is actually a who's who of the jazz rock scene participating on this album which is actually more fascinating by the various combos that play on various tracks rather than the whole album itself.
As I mentioned the main roles/characters of the fairytale are taken up by various participating musicians and thus the main cast was: Manfred Mann (Peter), Gary Brooker (Bird), Chris Spedding / Gary Moore (Duck), Stephane Grappelli (Cat), Brian Eno (Wolf), Keith Tippett (Pond), Jack Lancaster (Grandfather), Jon Hiseman, Bill Bruford, Cozy Powell and Phil Collins (all hunters). The album was produced in five different languages. The English version had Viv Stanshall (Bonzo Dog Dada Band) while the Italian version had Maurizio Arcieri as narrator. Arcieri would play with rock band Krisma, whose 1981 album, Cathode Mama would be produced by Jack Lancaster.
Phil Collins needs no introduction to the progressive rock audience due to his work with both Genesis and Brand X, though he is not the only drummer to have played on the album. Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson), Cozy Powell (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Jeff Beck) and Jon Hiseman (Colosseum, Greenslade, Tempest) all contribute to the percussive element on the album. Indeed there is one particular track, Hunters, which sees all four playing together!
Guitar work seems to have been entrusted mainly to the able hands of Gary Moore, who at the time of recording was still within the Thin Lizzy fold, but was about to rejoin Jon Hiseman in Colosseum II. John Godsall (Brand X) also makes appearances on the album as does Chris Spedding (Sharks), one of Britain's most underrated guitarists, and bluesman Alvin Lee (Ten Years After).
Most of the bass playing on the album is by Percy Jones (Brand X), though there are contributions from Andy Pyle (Blodwyn Pig, Savoy Brown, Gary Moore) and Dave Marquee. On the other hand the synthesizers, when not played by Lumley were taken over by Gary Brooker (Procol Harum), Brian Eno, who had just left Roxy Music, and Manfred Mann.
The late Stephane Grappelli needs no introduction, being one of the greatest jazz violinists to have graced the stage as does Henry Lowther, one of the best session players in British rock, having played with Caravan and CCS amongst others. Julie Tippet (Centipede) contributes female vocals while Bernie Frost sings on the only track that is not predominantly instrumental.
Since both the music and narration of Peter And The Wolf were already available, albeit in a classical version, the music and narration on this album are relatively similar to what one finds on Prokofiev's version. Thus the introductory theme as well as that for the various animals, especially the main character Peter is similar to the classical mode, but is obviously played out on a different instrument.
Though most of the tracks are relatively short, the album not only proves to be entertaining from a sonoric point of view but also a means of comparing various musicians. Rarely does one come across an album in which, for example, solos of guitarists such as Keith Tippett and Gary Moore are played back to back. A guitar solo is usually synonymous with Peter's Theme which is also the dominant sound to the album, and is the piece of music with which the album starts off.
Gary Brooker's shrill pitched synthesizer, complete with bird effects, introduces the first animal character to the story. The duck, on the other hand is also played out by a guitar, though the main difference to Peter, apart from the theme itself, is the use of the wah-wah pedal, which practically gives away the presence of the duck throughout the story.
The cat, played out by the Stephane Grappelli's violin, moves ever so sinuously and is possibly the closest the album comes to matching it's classical counterpart. In fact when things get more adventurous, and thus have more of a rock tinge, as in Cat And Duck, Grappelli's vilin makes way for that of Henry Lowther. After the sax drenched introduction of Grandfather, the music for both Cat and Wolf moves on very similar lines to the original versions of Prokofiev. In fact only minimal amounts of musicians are used on these tracks, though the closing track to Side One (Wolf And Duck), makes up for by this re-introducing a more rock orientated sound, something which does tend to lack at certain times throughout the record, especially considering the array of musicians on display here. The last moments of the first side show the unmistakable nature of narrator Viv Stanshall as he demonstrates the gulp with which the wolf swallows duck with a less than delicate belch!
Following the English Chorale introduction with Threnody For A Duck, the music takes on a more sinister nature with Brian Eno and his synthesizers taking the part of the wolf. One very interesting instrument that forms an integral part of Jack lancaster's repertoire is the lyricon, an instrument that is not too often used in rock music. Tracks like Capture Of The Wolf are perfect examples of the whole nature of this album, which allows the listener to full appreciate certain instruments within a rock context, though still managing to maintain an amount of individuality for that particualr instrument. As an album, Peter And The Wolf does have a lot of drawbacks as the music does tend to sound slightly disjointed at times. Possibly the main reason for buying this album is the quality and quantity of the musicians playing on this album, a feat that is practically impossible to come by nowadays. Of course there are some very interesting points for collectors such as the inclusion of most Brand X members, much before the creation of Brand X as a recording entity as well as interesting musical pairings such as Gary Moore and Gary Brooker playing together on various tracks. All in all Peter And The Wolf cannot be considered a musical classic (unlike the following Lancaster/Lumley collaboration) and is worthy of inclusion in one's musical collection more on the past merits of the musicians participating on the album. ~ Nigel Camilleri
Introduction - Gary Moore (acc. guitar), Robin Lumley (elec. piano), Jack Lancaster (lyricon), Julie Tippetts (vocal), Erika Michailenko (chimes)
Peter's Theme - Manfred Mann (synthesizer), Pete Haywood (steel guitar), Percy Jones (bass), Cozy Powell (drums), Robin Lumley (string synthi), Jack Lancaster (saxes)
Bird And Peter (0:38) - Gary Brooker (synthesizer), John Goodsall (guitar), Pete Haywood (steel guitar), Robin Lumley (strings), Percy Jones (bass), Phil Collins (drums)
Duck Theme - Gary Moore (guitars), Robin Lumley (piano), Andy Pyle (bass)
Pond - Keith Tippett (piano), Phil Collins (vibes), Erika Michailenko(chimes)
Duck And Bird - Gary Moore (guitar), Gary Brooker (synthesizer)
Cat Dance - Stephane Grappelli (violin), Alvin Lee (guitar), Dave Marquee (bass)
Cat And Duck - Henry Lowther (violin), Gary Moore (guitars), John Goodsall (guitars), Percy Jones (bass), Robin Lumley (clarinet), Phil Collins (drums)
Grandfather - Jack Lancaster (lyricon, saxes), Robin Lumley (piano), Gary Moore (slide guitar), John Goodsall (guitar), Percy Jones (bass), Phil Collins (drums)
Cat - Stephane Grappelli (violin), Dave Marquee (bass)
Wolf - Brian Eno (synthesizer), Robin Lumley (synthesizer, piano)
Wolf And Duck - Chris Spedding (guitar), Brian Eno (synthesizer), Robin Lumley (piano), Percy Jones (bass), Phil Collins (drums)
Threnody For A Duck - English Chorale (choir), Geoff Leach (arranger)
Wolf Stalks - Brian Eno (synthesizer), Robin Lumley (synthesizer, piano), John Goodsall (guitar), Jack Lancaster (guitar), Percy Jones (bass), Phil Collins (drums)
Cat In Tree - Stephane Grappelli (violin)
Peter's Chase (John Goodsall (guitar), Gary Moore (guitar), Robin Lumley (synthesizer), Percy Jones (bass), Phil Collins (drums)
Capture Of Wolf - Brian Eno (synthesizer), Robin Lumley (synthesizer, piano), Jack Lancaster (lyricon), Phil Collins (percussion)
Hunters - Cozy Powell (bass drum), John Hiseman (snare drums), Bill Bruford (snare drums), Phil Collins (cymbals), Jack Lancaster (lyricon, flutes), Henry Lowther (trumpet)
Rock And Roll Celebration - Bernie Frost (vocals), Gary Moore (guitar), Robin Lumley (piano), Jack Lancaster (lyricon, saxes), Andy Pyle (bass), Phil Collins (drums)
Duck Escape - Gary Moore (guitar)
Final Theme - Julie Tippetts (vocals: solo), Bob Sergeant (choir), Erika Michilenko (choir), Bernie Frost (choir), Jack Lancaster (lyricon, saxes, clarinets), Robin Lumley (piano), Gary Moore (guitars), Percy Jones (bass), Phil Collins (drums), Alvin Lee (solo guitar)
Narrators: Viv Stabshall (English), Pierre Clementi (French), Wilken 'Willem' F. Dincklage (German), Maurizio Arcieri (Italian), Luis Del Olmo (Spanish)
All compositions Lancaster/Lumley except for tracks 2, 7, 10, 11, 17, 20, 21 by Prokofiev/arr. Lancaster/Lumley