Peter and the Wolf

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Friday, April 29, 2011

May 2nd marks 75 years since the first performance of Prokofiev’s children’s piece, Peter and the Wolf.  As WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us, the millions of children listening over the decades knew only part of the story.  Listen above to hear Fishko Files.






Read the English translation of Prokofiev's text for Peter and the Wolf here


Walt Disney and Sergei Prokofiev met in Hollywood in 1938. Later, Disney made this promotional film about their meeting. (The man at the piano is an actor, not Prokofiev)


Peter and the Wolf showcased some of the great voices and orchestras of the 20th century. See a list of some of the recordings used in Fishko Files, below. 

Peter and the Wolf(s)

  1. Koussevitzky Conducts Prokofiev: Boston Symphony, Serge Koussevitzky, conductor, Richard Hale, narrator.  Pearl 1991. (recorded 1939)
  2. Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky, conductor, Eleanor Roosevelt, narrator. Listen to the recording here. (Recorded 1950)
  3. Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Mario Rossi, conductor, Boris Karloff, narrator. Vanguard, 1992. (Recorded 1957)
  4. Vienna State Opera Orchestra, Sir Eugene Goossens, conductor, Jose Ferrer, narrator. MCA, 1989. (Recorded 1959)
  5. Stadium Symphony Orchestra of New York, Leopold Stokowski, conductor, Bob Keeshan, narrator. Everest, 1997.
  6. Academy of London, Richard Stamp, conductor, John Gielgud, narrator. Virgin, 1989. (Recorded 1989)
  7. Orchestra of St. Luke’s, James Levine, conductor, Sharon Stone, narrator. DG, 2001. (Recorded 2001)
  8. The Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy, conductor, David Bowie, narrator. RCA, 1978. (Recorded 1978)
  9. New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein, conductor and narrator. Sony, 1998. (Recorded 1960)
  10. Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta, conductor, Itzhak Perlman, narrator. EMI, 1996. (Recorded 1986)

Other Music by Prokofiev Used in this Episode

  1. Romeo and Juliet, excerpt from Suite #2 Op. 64 C. Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Armin Jordan, conductor. Erato, 1992.
  2. Sonata #6, excerpt from 1st movement, Sviatoslav Richter. Philips Classics, 1998.
  3. Winter Bonfire, Op. 122, excerpt from “Departure.” The New London Orchestra. Ronald Corp, conductor. Hyperion, 1991.


For more from the speaker in this episode of Fishko Files...

Visit Professor Harlow Robinson's website, here. You can see his book, "Sergei Prokofiev: A Biography," here

WNYC Production Credits...

Mix Engineer: Wayne Shulmister

Assistant Producer: Laura Mayer

Managing Editor, WNYC News: Karen Frillmann



Produced by:

Sara Fishko

Comments [6]

Jeannean from NJ

To: Mary from NYC,
I had that same one you are talking about , with the greenery/forest. (I'm pretty sure)
That is the 1941(not sure if that is the date?) version with Cyril Ritchard narrating and Eugen Ormandy conducting. Check out On that web page you will see many of the album covers of several different recordings of Peter and the Wolf. Maybe you will find the one you remember from your childhood. I found this version on Amazon!:)

Jul. 25 2013 11:21 PM
Janet Slome from Ashby, Massachusetts

I have the 1939 Version w/the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Serge Koussevitzky, Conductor; Richard Hale,Narrator. This may be the one Mary is looking for. It has a green/forest cover (no child image).

I'm trying to find a market for it. Not sure what the value would be. Any idea?

Apr. 01 2012 06:27 PM
Janet Slome from Ashby, Massachusetts

I have the Boston Symphony 1939 version narrated by Richard Hale. The cover is green.....Serge Koussevitzky, Conductor.

Mar. 31 2012 04:56 PM
mary from NYC

I am 50 years old and loved Peter and the Wolf as a kid. I'm trying to identify which recording I had so I can give the same one to a child. The speaker was male and the cover of the album was greenery/forest - maybe with a child.
If you can help me identify this recording; I would appreciate it.
Thank you,

PS; I was unable to relisten to this FF broadcast - computer issue.

May. 04 2011 03:47 PM
Shelly Friedman from New York, NY

My favorite from my childhood was the recording with Cyril Ritchard (Captain Hook) narrating. It took me years to find a copy, but I finally did and it is a cherished part of my collection.

Apr. 29 2011 10:55 AM
Hugh Sansom

My kids have heard perhaps three versions of Peter and the Wolf. The one that went off best -- Peter Schickele's "Sneaky Pete and the Wolf."

Apr. 29 2011 08:00 AM

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