A new phone game features Alice Cooper as narrator of the wonderful Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood. We round up some of our favourite Peter videos to entertain kids and introduce them to the instruments of the orchestra.
"Boys like Peter are NOT afraid of wolves," says Alice Cooper in his fantastically raspy voice in a brand-new audio album and app called Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood.
This is a new take and prequel to Sergei Prokofiev's endearing symphonic tale, which is still as delightful as it was in 1936 when it was written. This time it's a game for phone and tablet, with great animation too. Here's a trailer:
Why Peter and the Wolf?
It's the story of Peter, a little birdie, a cat, a duck, his grandpa, the bad wolf and the hunters, all represented by a catchy tune on a different instrument, with spoken narration.
There are some brilliant versions, including narration by David Attenborough, David Bowie, Sean Connery, Sting, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mickhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton and Sophia Loren, Mia Farrow, Kirstie Alley, Lina Prokofiev (Sergei's widow), Itzhak Perlman, Leonard Bernstein, Benjamin Britten, Sharon Stone, Christopher Lee, Patrick Stewart and Ben Kingsley. But a lot of these old recordings can sound – and some old film and book versions can look – very outdated to the modern little ear.
The story has also made its way into contemporary popular culture: Hugh Hefner plays a tune from Peter and the Wolf on wine glasses in a Simpsons episode; an adaption for Tiny Toon Adventures featured Buster Bunny and friends; Elmo becomes Peter in a Sesame Street version; Manfred Mann's rock version and the ITV coverage of the 2012 European Football Championships used the main theme as title music.
We've rounded up four other fantastic versions that are sure to delight your children and perhaps pique interest into playing an instrument. The story is only half-hour long.
The orchstra: CBC Music's performance with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Bramwell Tovey
The orchestra's music director Bramwell Tovey plays both narrator and conductor in this fun performance, clearly showing every tune played by the respective instruments. A fantastic way to introduce the orchestra to younger listeners.
The classic Walt Disney read-along book:
YouTube user Steve Franklin scanned in the images and digitized the original recording from the 1940s to create this video for his niece, but it has since garnered nearly a million views.
The animation movie: Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman's stop-motion animation film
This 2006 adaptation uses no narration at all, but the animation is beautiful. It varies quite a bit from the original tale and could be a little bit scary for toddlers. Interestingly, it depicts the hunters as bullies. The film neither introduces nor shows the instruments but older kids familiar with the tunes will enjoy the story and music.
The score: Boris Karloff and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra
This video shows subtitles for the narration, and the sheet music while the music is playing. Very useful for older kids interested in reading music!