PROKOFIEV: Peter and the Wolf

I’m sure you won’t mind the heavy hiss of the acetate
recordings and you won’t have problems with the sagging pitch of the orchestra at the beginning
due to the worn out recording. You will definitely enjoy every inflection by Mr. Melchior who
clearly enjoys himself while trying to imitate a cat, a duck, a bird etc. in the well-known clownish
style of some of his radio-shows in the fifties. Mr. Melchor’s admirers will be glad to note that
the tenor had at least one thing in common with his archenemy Rudolf Bing of the Met who fired
him: their identical Germanic pronunciation. Mr. Reiner’s admirers maybe will somewhat less
happy due to the sound though it is clear he was very inspired by the great narrator.

Nevertheless I have a small question for the label. Mr. Melchior’s detailed chronology doesn’t
mention a single performance of this piece in 1951 (Myto doesn’t give an exact date). His
discography tells us there is indeed an unpublished commercial recording with Reiner and the
Chicago Symphony, but even 56 years ago recording engineers were able to record without a
distorting hiss. There is, however, a performance of Peter and the Wolf by Melchior and Reiner
in June 1949. This was a radio performance, which probably was recorded unto acetates. The
orchestra is not the Chicago Symphony but the NBC. I have more than an inkling that this Myto
is that radio performance.

The interesting tracks on this Cd are the parts of Tannhäuser, Tristan, Walküre, Siegfried and
Götterdämmerung, commercially recorded during the tenor’s heyday. But I’m sure that every
Wagnerian, Melchiorian or lover of great singing acquired these arias long time ago.

Jan Neckers

image_description=Sergei Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
product_title=Sergei Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
product_by=Narrator Lauritz Melchior. Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fritz Reiner. Recorded live 1951.
product_id=Myto 061.H109 [CD]