The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra puts a local spin on its jazz adaptation of Peter and the Wolf for a special performance at Queen’s Cross Church, Aberdeen on Saturday 18th March.
Celebrated Aberdeen actor Joyce Falconer will narrate the tale, which has been translated into Doric by the retired Peterhead solicitor-turned-successful-writer Gordon Hay, as the orchestra’s award-winning musicians provide a theme for each character.
Originally devised by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev as a way of introducing children to the different instruments of the symphony orchestra, Peter and the Wolf was first performed in Moscow in 1936.
It has since received dozens of performances with narration by everyone from Sir John Gielgud and Sir Peter Ustinov to Sting and from Eleanor Roosevelt and Sophia Lauren to Dame Edna Everage. The late David Bowie and the Hungarian American conductor Eugene Ormandy took it into the pop charts in 1978 and SNJO director, saxophonist Tommy Smith adapted Prokofiev’s piece for jazz orchestra in 2018.
“We initially performed and recorded it with the Leith-born actor Tam Dean Burn narrating a text in Scots by the former National Poet of Scotland, Liz Lochhead,” says Tommy Smith. “However, Scottish voices had read the original text before as both Sir Sean Connery and David Tennant have narrated it.”
The live premiere of the Scots version earned five-star reviews, as did the album, and the orchestra subsequently performed the Scots version, instead of the English version, as per Liz Lochhead’s wishes, in the USA. They have also taken it to Japan, with acclaimed actor Isao Hashizume narrating in Japanese, and to Norway, where actor Jacob Andersen delivered the narrative in Norwegian.