Wednesday, October 3, 2012

why a wolf is wonderful

wolves are popular at our place right now.

sergei prokofiev's peter and the wolf is a wonderful piece of music.  ander enjoys multiple variations of how this is performed and is quite proficient in identifying the sounds of the different instruments (french horn, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, drums, flute, strings), in addition to recognizing and recreating the theme songs for each character.  these days, we are listening to leonard bernstein's conducting and narration.  ander also really, really likes jim gamble's video we found at the library, so much that i was afraid i'd wear it out from watching so many times, so we bought our own vhs tape.  rod puppets are used for the instruments and the animals in this very gentle and sensitive-child-friendly version of the story.

i wish i knew of other such engaging narrated or ballet-accompanied orchestral pieces.  we've tried carnival of the animals without much success.  tchaikovsky's nutcracker, stravinsky's firebird, and the royal ballet's tales of beatrix potter are all fairly compelling for both kids, and ander loved attending a local performance of shakespeare/ mendelssohn/ balanchine's midsummer night's dream ballet, but we haven't had much else grab us in the same way.  we're open to suggestions!

back to wolves. we're listening to jim weiss' telling of washington irving's rip van winkle. mr. van winkle's faithful dog is named wolf, and ander can be heard frequently running throughout the house saying, "wolf, where are you, boy?" as he pretends to be van winkle awakening from his long slumber to find everything and everyone different from when he fell asleep.

and a friend passed along a favorite shirt of theirs for ander to wear.  it has a huge wolf head on it and is now among ander's favorites to wear, despite the fact that it is still in the 90s here during the day.

maybe he'll be a wolf for halloween.  i wouldn't be surprised if he added that into the mix along with various characters from the sound of music, the three musketeers, and rip van winkle.

i'm happyer at home today because i can share my love for musical excursions with both of my children.

* the letter w may be for wonderful wolf in our house, but it is also for writewant to know why?  just ask lisa.

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