Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67: A Guide to the Musical Fairy Tale and Its Full Score
Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67: A Musical Fairy Tale by Sergei Prokofiev
Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67 is a musical fairy tale for children composed by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936. It is one of his most famous and beloved works, and has been performed and recorded by many orchestras, narrators, and actors around the world. In this article, we will explore what Peter and the Wolf is, why Prokofiev wrote it, how it is structured, who are the characters and their instruments, what is the story of Peter and his encounter with a wolf, what is the moral of the tale, how popular it is, and how you can download a full score of Peter and the Wolf in English and German.
Peter And The Wolf, Op. 67: Full Score (English And German Edition) Download Pdf
What is Peter and the Wolf?
Peter and the Wolf is a musical fairy tale that combines narration with orchestral music. The narrator tells a story about a young boy named Peter who lives with his grandfather near a forest. One day, he goes out to play in a meadow with his animal friends, a bird, a duck, and a cat. He meets a wolf that threatens to eat them all. With his courage and cleverness, he manages to catch the wolf with a rope and take it to a zoo. Each character in the story is represented by a different instrument or group of instruments in the orchestra. The music illustrates their personalities, actions, and emotions, as well as the events and settings of the story.
Why did Prokofiev write Peter and the Wolf?
Prokofiev wrote Peter and the Wolf in 1936, when he was living in Moscow, after returning from a long period of living abroad. He was commissioned by Natalya Sats, the director of the Central Children's Theatre, to write a musical piece for children that would introduce them to the instruments of the orchestra. Prokofiev was inspired by a Russian folk tale about a boy who catches a wolf, but he added his own twists and humor to the story. He also wrote the narration himself, in both Russian and English. He finished the composition in just four days, and it was premiered on May 2, 1936, at the Central Children's Theatre, with Sats as the narrator and Prokofiev himself conducting the orchestra.
How is Peter and the Wolf structured?
Peter and the Wolf is divided into 15 sections, each corresponding to a part of the story. The narrator introduces each section with a brief description of what is happening, and then the music takes over. The music follows a simple and clear structure, with themes, motifs, and variations that are easy to recognize and remember. The music also uses different musical techniques, such as tonality, modality, chromaticism, dissonance, consonance, dynamics, tempo, rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, and form, to create contrast, tension, suspense, humor, and emotion. The music is written in a tonal and accessible style, with influences from classical, romantic, modern, and folk music.
The Characters and Their Instruments
One of the most ingenious and original aspects of Peter and the Wolf is how Prokofiev assigns each character a specific instrument or group of instruments that matches their personality and role in the story. The narrator introduces each character and their instrument at the beginning of the piece, before the story begins. Here are the characters and their instruments:
Peter and the Strings
Peter is the main character and the hero of the story. He is a brave and adventurous boy who loves nature and animals. He is represented by the strings section of the orchestra: violins, violas, cellos, and double basses. The strings play a cheerful and lively theme that expresses Peter's optimism and curiosity. The theme is based on a rising major scale that ascends and descends in different ways. The theme also changes according to Peter's mood and situation: it becomes faster when he is excited or running, slower when he is sad or worried, louder when he is confident or triumphant, softer when he is cautious or scared.
The Bird and the Flute
The bird is one of Peter's friends who lives in the forest. He is a small and agile creature who can fly high in the sky. He is represented by the flute, a woodwind instrument that produces a high-pitched and bright sound. The flute plays a fast and playful theme that imitates the bird's chirping and singing. The theme is based on a series of short notes that move up and down in quick succession. The theme also varies according to the bird's actions: it becomes louder when he is happy or mocking, softer when he is hiding or sneaking.
The Duck and the Oboe
The Cat and the Clarinet
The cat is another friend of Peter who lives in his house. He is a sly and cunning creature who likes to hunt and eat birds and mice. He is represented by the clarinet, another woodwind instrument that produces a medium-pitched and mellow sound. The clarinet plays a smooth and sneaky theme that imitates the cat's purring and stalking. The theme is based on a series of long and short notes that move up and down in large intervals. The theme also adapts according to the cat's intentions: it becomes faster when he is chasing or attacking, slower when he is resting or hiding.
The Grandfather and the Bassoon
The grandfather is Peter's guardian who lives with him in a cottage near the forest. He is a wise and cautious old man who worries about Peter's safety. He is represented by the bassoon, another woodwind instrument that produces a low-pitched and gruff sound. The bassoon plays a slow and stern theme that imitates the grandfather's scolding and lecturing. The theme is based on a series of long notes that move up and down in small steps. The theme also reflects the grandfather's feelings: it becomes louder when he is angry or annoyed, softer when he is calm or resigned.
The Wolf and the French Horns
The wolf is the antagonist of the story who lives in the forest. He is a fierce and hungry creature who wants to eat Peter and his friends. He is represented by the French horns, a brass instrument that produces a powerful and dark sound. The French horns play a menacing and ominous theme that imitates the wolf's howling and growling. The theme is based on a series of short notes that move up and down in chromatic scales. The theme also conveys the wolf's actions: it becomes faster when he is running or jumping, slower when he is stalking or waiting.
The Hunters and the Timpani, Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Cymbals, Triangle, Castanets, and Tambourine
The hunters are a group of men who live in the village near the forest. They are armed with guns and dogs, and they want to kill the wolf. They are represented by the percussion section of the orchestra: timpani, bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, triangle, castanets, and tambourine. The percussion plays a loud and rhythmic theme that imitates the hunters' shooting and marching. The theme is based on a series of repeated notes that move up and down in different patterns. The theme also matches the hunters' mood: it becomes louder when they are excited or victorious, softer when they are surprised or defeated.
The Story of Peter and the Wolf
Now that we know the characters and their instruments, let's follow the story of Peter and the Wolf as narrated by Prokofiev himself:
Part 1: Peter Goes to the Meadow
Early one morning, Peter opened the gate and went out into the big green meadow. On a branch of a big tree sat a little bird, Peter's friend. "All is quiet," chirped the bird gaily.
The strings play Peter's theme as he walks out of his house into the meadow. The flute plays the bird's theme as he greets Peter from a tree.
Part 2: The Bird Distracts the Cat
Just then a duck came waddling round. She was glad that Peter had not closed the gate and decided to take a nice swim in the deep pond in the meadow.
Seeing the duck, the little bird flew down upon on the grass, settled next to her and shrugged his shoulders. "What kind of bird are you if you can't fly?" said he. To this the duck replied "What kind of bird are you if you can't swim?" and dived into the pond.
They argued and argued; the duck swimming in the pond; the little bird hopping along the shore.
The oboe plays the duck's theme as she waddles around the meadow. The flute plays the bird's theme as he teases the duck from the grass. They exchange their themes as they argue about flying and swimming.
Part 3: The Duck Argues with the Bird
Suddenly, something caught Peter's attention. He noticed a cat crawling through the grass.
The cat thought; "The bird is busy arguing; I'll just grab him." Stealthily, she crept towards him on her velvet paws.
"Look out!" shouted Peter and the bird immediately flew up into the tree, while the duck quacked angrily at the cat, from the middle of the pond.
The cat walked around the tree and thought, "Is it worth climbing up so high? By the time I get there the bird will have flown away."
The clarinet plays the cat's theme as she sneaks through the grass. Peter's theme is heard briefly as he warns the bird. The flute plays the bird's theme as he flies up to the tree. The oboe plays the duck's theme as she quacks at the cat from the pond.
Part 4: The Cat Stalks the Bird and the Duck
Just then, grandfather came out. He was angry because Peter had gone in the meadow. "It is a dangerous place. If a wolf should come out of the forest, then what would you do?"
But Peter paid no attention to his grandfather's words. Boys like him are not afraid of wolves.
But grandfather took Peter by the hand, locked the gate and led him home.
The bassoon plays grandfather's theme as he scolds Peter for going to the meadow. The strings play Peter's theme as he ignores his grandfather's words. The bassoon plays grandfather's theme again as he takes Peter home and locks the gate.
Part 5: Peter's Grandfather Scolds Him
No sooner had Peter gone, than a big grey wolf came out of the forest.
In a twinkling, the cat climbed up into the tree. The duck quacked and in her excitement jumped out of the pond. But no matter how hard the duck tried to run, she couldn't escape the wolf. He was getting nearer and nearer, catching up with her. And then he got her, and with one gulp swallowed her.
The French horns play the wolf's theme as he emerges from the forest. The clarinet plays the cat's theme as she climbs up the tree. The oboe plays the duck's theme as she tries to run away from the wolf. The French horns play the wolf's theme again as he catches and swallows the duck.
Part 6: The Wolf Appears
And now, this is how things stood: the cat was sitting on one branch; the bird on another - not too close to the cat - and the wolf walked round and round the tree, looking at them with greedy eyes.
The clarinet plays the cat's theme as she sits on a branch. The flute plays the bird's theme as he sits on another branch. The French horns play the wolf's theme as he walks around the tree.
Part 7: The Cat Climbs a Tree
In the meantime, Peter, without the slightest fear, stood behind the closed gate watching all that was going on. He ran home, got a strong rope and climbed over the garden wall into the tree.
He said to the bird: "Fly down and circle over the wolf's head; only take care that he doesn't catch you."
The bird almost touched the wolf's head with his wings while the wolf snapped angrily at him from this side and that.
How the bird did worry the wolf! How he wanted to catch him! But the bird was cleverer and always too quick for him.
The strings play Peter's theme as he runs home and gets a rope. The flute plays the bird's theme as he flies down and circles over the wolf's head. The French horns play the wolf's theme as he snaps at the bird.
Part 8: The Duck Is Swallowed by the Wolf
Peter made a lasso and carefully letting it down caught the wolf by his tail and pulled with all his might.
Feeling himself caught, the wolf began to jump wildly trying to get loose.
But Peter tied the other end of rope to a tree, and there was no way for him to escape.
The strings play Peter's theme as he makes a lasso and catches the wolf by his tail. The French horns play Part 9: Peter Prepares to Catch the Wolf
Just then, the hunters came out of the woods, following the wolf's trail and shooting as they went.
But Peter, sitting in the tree, said: "Don't shoot! Birdie and I have already caught the wolf. Now help us take him to the zoo."
The percussion plays the hunters' theme as they come out of the woods and shoot at the wolf. The strings play Peter's theme as he tells them not to shoot and to help him take the wolf to the zoo.
Part 10: The Bird Diverts the Wolf's Attention
And now, imagine the triumphant procession: Peter at the head; after him the hunters leading the wolf; and winding up the procession, grandfather and the cat.
Grandfather shook his head discontentedly: "Well, and if Peter hadn't caught the wolf? What then?"
Above them flew Birdie chirping merrily. "My, what brave fellows we are, Peter and I! Look what we have caught!"
And if one would listen very carefully, he could hear the duck quacking inside the wolf; because the wolf in his hurry had swallowed her alive.
The strings play Peter's theme as he leads the procession. The bassoon plays grandfather's theme as he shakes his head. The flute plays the bird's theme as he chirps merrily. The oboe plays the duck's theme as she quacks inside the wolf.
Part 11: Peter Catches the Wolf with a Rope
This is how the story ends:
Peter brought the wolf to a zoo, where he was locked up in a cage. The duck was rescued from his stomach by a veterinarian, who made a small cut in his belly and pulled her out. She was very happy to see Peter and his friends again.
Peter became a famous hero in his village. Everyone praised him for his courage and cleverness. He also became friends with the hunters, who gave him a gun as a gift.
The bird, the cat, and the grandfather were proud of Peter and his achievement. They often visited him and played with him in the meadow.
The wolf never bothered anyone again. He learned his lesson and became more respectful of other animals. He also made friends with some of them in the zoo.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Part 12: The Hunters Arrive with Their Guns
Peter and the Wolf is a musical fairy tale that teaches us many valuable lessons. It shows us that we can overcome our fears and challenges with courage and creativity. It also shows us that we can be friends with different kinds of people and animals, and that we should respect and protect nature. It also introduces us to the instruments of the orchestra and their musical characteristics.
What is the moral of Peter and the Wolf?
The moral of Peter and the Wolf is that bravery and intelligence can triumph over danger and evil. Peter is able to catch the wolf not by force or violence, but by using his wit and skill. He also shows compassion and mercy by sparing the wolf's life and taking him to a zoo instead of killing him. He proves that he is smarter and kinder than the wolf, who tries to eat him and his friends.
How popular is Peter and the Wolf?
Peter and the Wolf is one of Prokofiev's most popular and beloved works. It has been performed and recorded by many orchestras, narrators, and actors around the world. It has also been adapted into various forms of media, such as books, films, cartoons, ballets, operas, musicals, video games, and more. It has been translated into many languages and cultures, and has become a classic piece of children's literature and music.
How can you download a full score of Peter and the Wolf in English and German?
If you want to download a full score of Peter and the Wolf in English and German, you can visit this website: https://imslp.org/wiki/Peter_and_the_Wolf,_Op.67_%28Prokofiev,_Sergey%29. This website provides free sheet music for public domain works, and you can find the score of Peter and the Wolf in different editions and languages. You can also find parts for each instrument, as well as arrangements and transcriptions for different ensembles. You can download the score as a PDF file and print it or view it on your device.
Here are some frequently asked questions about Peter and the Wolf:
Who is the narrator of Peter and the Wolf?
The narrator of Peter and the Wolf is usually a person who reads the text written by Prokofiev himself, in either Russian or English. However, some versions of Peter and the Wolf have different narrators, such as celebrities, actors, singers, comedians, politicians, or even animals. Some examples of famous narrators are David Bowie, Sting, Patrick Stewart, Boris Karloff, Sophia Loren, Bill Clinton, and Morgan Freeman.
What is the difference between a symphonic poem and a musical fairy tale?
A symphonic poem is a type of orchestral music that tells a story or depicts a scene or an idea through musical themes and techniques. A musical fairy tale is a type of symphonic poem that is specifically written for children and combines narration with music. Peter and the Wolf is a musical fairy tale because it tells a story about a boy and a wolf with narration and music.
What are some other musical fairy tales or works for children by Prokofiev?
Some other musical fairy tales or works for children by Prokofiev are Cinderella, a ballet based on the fairy tale by Charles Perrault; The Ugly Duckling, a song cycle based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen; The Love for Three Oranges, an opera based on the comedy by Carlo Gozzi; Lieutenant Kijé, a film score based on the novel by Yury Tynyanov; and Winter Bonfire, a suite for children's chorus and orchestra.
What are some other musical works that use animals or instruments to represent characters?
Some other musical works that use animals or instruments to represent characters are The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns, a suite for two pianos and orchestra that depicts various animals with different instruments; The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, a set of four violin concertos that depict the seasons of the year with different musical effects; The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas, a symphonic poem that tells the story of a magician's apprentice who tries to use magic to animate brooms with disastrous results; and The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, a ballet that tells the story of a girl who travels to a fantasy world with her nutcracker doll.
What are some other musical works that are based on Russian folk tales or culture?
Some other musical works that are based on Russian folk tales or culture are The Firebird by Igor Stravinsky, a ballet based on a fairy tale about a magical bird that helps a prince defeat an evil sorcerer; Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, a symphonic suite based on the stories from One Thousand and One Nights; Boris Godunov by Modest Mussorgsky, an opera based on the historical drama by Alexander Pushkin; Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky, a piano suite inspired by paintings by Viktor Hartmann; and The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky, a ballet that depicts a pagan ritual of sacrifice.