Memory is a funny thing. It can play tricks on you. It can make you laugh, cry, reminisce about the good old days. For me, it is often linked to music, clothes, people. Some of my earliest childhood memories are linked to sound and music and for me there is always something a little magical about the rhythmic scratch of a needle on a record. Make that record Peter and The Wolf with Alec Guinness narrating and you have a huge chunk of my childhood right there.
So, when I was approached by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra PR and asked if I’d like to attend and review a performance for them I was more than happy to say yes. As luck would have it, performances of Peter and the Wolf were available during the school holidays. The Blue Eyed Boy and Green Eyed Girl had been on an excursion earlier in the year to see the MSO, and I had taken my class to a performance as well. Â But Peter and the Wolf, that was something my children had not heard live, and both of them were happy to come along with me. Music feeds the soul, inspires the imagination and evokes emotion, I can not begin to think of a world without it. Live music is no exception. Add into the mix a bit of nostalgia, a dark, inspired film and you have the makings of a great afternoon out.
Now, in my childhood world, Peter and The Wolf comes with narrative. This version did not. It did, however come with a stop-motion animation from BAFTA winning director Suzie Templeton. The performance was held at ACMI with the film screening while the orchestra played. The interpretation of the story had a modern edge, and was, it has to be said, dark and a little confronting to begin with, especially I would imagine for younger audience members. For my Green Eyed Girl, it was a winner. She of the Coraline and Nightmare before Christmas ilk.
What I love about the MSO Classic Kids concerts is the interaction. Having been an audience member as a parent and a teacher, seeing the conductor and musicians interact with the children in the audience is fantastic. Children respond well to being able to have their say, it’s a great way to engage a young audience and make them feel like they are a part of the performance. It also lets the children know they are valued and keeps things relaxed. What I really like is that the conductor and musicians do not take the children for fools, they are respectful and responsive, there is warmth and that, I’d say goes a long way towards children embracing music.
The MSO has a number of children’s performances left this year. If you are in Melbourne, and have the time free, it’s well worth it. Keep an eye on the website for next years performances too.
Disclosure: I received tickets to Peter and The Wolf for myself and my children from the MSO.