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PROKOFIEV: Peter and the Wolf

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Hello Possums!

I have always loved music and I'm not ashamed to say that music rather loves me Although I'm not a trained singer, internationally acclaimed conductors and music buffs the world over always put me up there with Dame Joan Sutherland, Dame Kiri and any other dame you care to mention Needless to say, it's a big thrill for me to at last record one of my favourite pieces of classical music, Peter and the Wolf, I tend to believe in reincarnation, call me old fashioned but I do, and it may interest you to know that lam actually the reincarnation of Serge Prokofiev's mother. She was a wonderful old Russian housewife, and when little Serge was knee-high to a grasshopper she would put him on her knee and croon old-fashioned folk-tunes to him. Needless to say, this had a profound effect on the young composer and most of those tunes his mother hummed are in his masterpiece, Peter and the Wolf.

That's why I'm an absolute natural to record this work. Many people have done it before, I know, but this has to be the authentic performance After all, I actually wrote it in a spooky kind of way, so I ought to know how to perform it - don't you agree, possums? To make this the absolute definitive performance the orchestra is the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, hand-picked players from my own home town, and arguably the finest group of musicians on the planet.

I've always been a big Benjamin Britten fan, possums, and his masterpiece, The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra is one of my favourite pieces. It's tuneful and educational, and I know this magnificent recording featuring myself will earn him many new fans. Poor old Benjamin rather blotted his copybook in Australia many moons ago when he visited the Sydney Opera House as it was being constructed. Admittedly, that famous building was having a few teething troubles and the orchestra pit was a bit on the cramped side. When Benjamin saw it he commented on its dimensions, and an Australian official - I think it was Sir Les Patterson - said \What's wrong with it? You can fit a whole orchestra in there". "Perhaps", replied Benjamin in a rather English voice (excusable, since he was English) "a whole orchestra of Japanese piccolo players!"

It was a rather cruel thing to say, I suppose, and Australians rather took it to heart, banning performances of his music throughout Australia for many years thereafter. Now, however, the thaw has set in and dear old Benjamin's music is being played once more in Australia, on this occasion by my favourite band, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Let me guide you through it on this magnificent compact disc.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot; also on this recording, my manager Barry Humphries does a reasonably good job of narrating the story of Babar the Elephant. I used to read this wonderful story to my children when they were young It's by a Frenchman, but very good nonetheless. It would be mean of me to say anything derogatory about Barry's performance, since he tries very, very hard and the music is absolutely gorgeous.

Dame Edna Everage
Item number 8554170
Barcode 636943417027
Release date 01/01/2000
Category Junior Classics and Children's Favourites
Label Naxos Children's Classics | Naxos Records
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Artists Humphries, Barry
Everage, Dame Edna
Composers Britten, Benjamin
Prokofiev, Sergey
Poulenc, Francis
Conductors Lanchbery, John
Orchestras Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Disc: 1
The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34
1 Introduction
2 The Story Begins
3 The Cat
4 Grandpapa
5 The Wolf
6 And Now, This is How Things Stood
7 In The Meantime
8 The Hunters
9 The Procession
10 The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant
11 Ride on Mother's Back
12 Babar Comes to a Town
13 Babar's Car
14 Arthur and Celeste
15 The Search for Arthur and Celeste
16 Babar Returns to the Forest
17 The Bad Mushroom
18 The New King
19 Babar Speaks to Cornelius
20 The Wedding Of Babar
21 After the Wedding
22 Night Fell
23 Introduction
24 Theme
25 Woodwind Variations
26 String Variations
27 Harp Variations
28 Brass Variations
29 Percussion Variations
30 Fugue
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