Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf; Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals; Bizet: Jeux D'Enfants

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AllMusic Review by

This presentation of Sergey Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, Camille Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals, and Georges Bizet's Jeux d'enfants is part of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's extensive audiophile series, recorded in 1996 with 32-bit digital sound processing and high definition technology, yet issued as a budget line. Featuring John Gielgud as the distinguished narrator of Peter and the Wolf, and conducted by Andrea Licata, this is a superb rendition that children will enjoy for its liveliness and drama and adults will appreciate for its excellent musical quality. Carnival of the Animals rivals Peter in popularity, and though it has no spoken storyline to hold the listener's attention, its vivid zoological depictions have long been favorites with audiences young and old, and Licata's performance with pianists Vivian Troon and Roderick Elms is as flashy and colorful as any could wish. Bizet's Petite Suite of five orchestrated pieces from the longer piano collection Jeux d'enfants may be a little less familiar to listeners, though not by much, for its charming vignettes have kept it popular for years, even though it is usually programmed on all-Bizet albums and less frequently on children's albums. With vivid playing and exceptional reproduction, this CD deserves high marks for its likability, accessibility, and affordability.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Peter and the Wolf, children's tale for narrator & orchestra, Op. 67
1
0:46
2
0:06
3
0:13
4
0:12
5
0:14
6
0:11
7
0:13
8
0:25
9
25:29
Carnival of the Animals, zoological fantasy for 2 pianos & ensemble
10
2:05
11
0:47
12
0:43
13
2:05
14
1:36
15
0:55
16
2:12
17
0:42
18
2:10
19
1:16
20
1:23
21
1:29
22
3:04
23
2:14
Petite Suite, pieces (5) for orchestra (orchestration of Jeux d'enfants Nos. 6, 3, 2, 11, 12)
24
2:17
25
2:56
26
1:01
27
Duo
4:00
28
2:00
blue highlight denotes track pick