A New Fate for Prokofiev’s Duck
for a special ten-year-old who adores ducks
In 1936 Russian composer, Sergei Prokofiev wrote Peter and the Wolf (Пе́тя и Bолк), a story and music piece all rolled in one. In Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev assigns each character his/her own melody played by certain instruments. For today’s Daily Create, we’re going to focus on one of the characters, the duck. First, listen to the duck’s melody, played twice on the oboe:
Now, let’s skip ahead in the story to this short, narrated excerpt, in which the duck and the bird (flute) converse while the cat (clarinet) sneaks up on them both. Listen to what happens:
While the duck is fortunate enough to evade the cat, it’s a different story later on when the wolf (French horns) catches and swallows the duck! Listen to this narrated snippet:
But all is not lost for the duck. At the very end of the story, we learn that the wolf swallowed her alive. Listen to her quacking in the wolf’s stomach (25:06 – 26:14):
Still, imagine being stuck in a wolf’s stomach alive! Let’s take a moment to take pity on Prokofiev’s duck and think up a different fate for her. Extend the story and/or change it so that the duck has a different experience. Express her new fate using words, duck sounds, a picture, a GIF, a variation on Prokofiev’s duck melody, or whatever else catches your fancy.
For the young at heart (optional additional materials for today’s Daily Create):
Peter and the Wolf is such a fun listen/read. There are so many ways to enjoy it on the Internet, for example:
- Introduction to the characters and their melodies and instruments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Yqj56RKUEM
- Music only: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fmi5zHg4QSM
- Story only: https://ark.ie/content/files/the-story-of-peter-and-the-wolf.pdf
- Music and narration in English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ki0xu6Gl9Nc
- Music and narration in Russian, read by Natalya Sats, who commissioned Sergei Prokofiev to compose Peter and the Wolf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saXlquXY8U4
- Music and narration in another language than English or Russian: Search on YouTube.
This Daily Create was inspired by my mom, who taught music at an American grade school. Her students not only learned about Prokofiev’s music but also created art while listening to the story and music.