Prokofiev Peter and the Wolf. Tchaikovsky Nutcracker Suite
Terry Wogan's narration of Peter and the Wolf is quite a winner. It is characterfully intoned (the ''duck'' becomes a ''dock'' or even a ''dog'' in Wogan Irish) but quite unselfconscious in its direct communication with a young listener, unexpectedly for me the most endearing version in years, particularly good in the passage where the wolf enters. As with the aggressively American Perlman version on EMI, the discrepancy between the acoustic for the narrator and that for the orchestra is made more evident on CD, but that is only momentarily distracting, and more important is the advantage of having total silence between the many sections.
Unfortunately none of those silences prompted the Philips engineers to include a band, thus the whole 26'39'' remains bandless, and if for example you want to find the passage of the wolf, you have to track fast-forward to 10'40''—easier on some machines than others! The crisp, if rather metrical, version of the Nutcracker suite on the reverse is banded between movements as one would expect, and the brilliance and three-dimensional realism of the Boston sound is even more telling on CD than on LP.'