Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Peter and the Wolf - Maestro Classics (TOS Review)

Sometimes the mail can't arrive quickly enough.  I was anxious for our package from Maestro Classics to arrive, bringing Peter and the Wolf (part of the Stories in Music collection) as our next product for review as part of the TOS homeschool review crew.  

Product details...

Peter and the Wolf (and the rest of the Stories in Music series) retails for $16.98.  At the time of this posting, you can purchase three for $45 (with promo code MAESTRO45).   The series is intended for ages 5-12, but I also enjoyed Peter and the Wolf immensely.

When the package arrived it was unsealed in record time.  Upon opening it, we were met with a beautifully packaged product which included the CD (with a playing time of slightly over 68 minutes) and an activity booket which included brief instructions on the use of the Stories in Music series, puzzles, information on the composer, and much more. We wasted no time in listening to the CD - off we went on a musical adventure with the London Philharmonic, conducted by Stephen Simon (co-creator of Maestro Classics), with the story narrated by Yadu (a/k/a Dr. Konrad Czynski).

I have always loved Peter and the Wolf (written by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev), because it is a beautiful and child-friendly introduction to the instruments of the symphony. Each instrument represents a character in the story:

        * Violin - Peter
        * French Horn - Wolf
        * Flute - Bird
        * Clarinet - Cat
        * Bassoon - Duck 
        * Oboe -  Grandfather
        * Timpani/Kettle Drums - Hunters 

Our adventure began with an introduction to the instruments/characters, then our ears were treated to a 25-minute recording of the music combined with the story!  The story and music were alternated, which allowed us to "hear" the story being told by the instruments.   When we reached the track on the CD that has only the music (no narration), I was impressed that my girls were already able to pick out most of the instruments and tell the story. Immediately after the CD finished, the girls begged to listen again.  How could I refuse?
What I like... 

Stories in Music provides an easy and highly entertaining way to introduce children to individual compositions of classical music.

The CD, together with the booklet, provides a musical history lesson on the piece.

Their customer service is incredible.  We encountered one small issue and, when reported, was met with a swift response and resolution. 

High quality, great information, and an incredibly reasonable price!  

My girls will forever recognize the music and composer! 

We made a great memory while listening and acting  out the story! 

I wish... 

There was a way to purchase another booklet - my girls each wanted their own copy.

I think a nice addition to their website might be a collection of links (kept updated) that provide more learning opportunities for the composition, the composer, etc.  The letter included with our package advised they are revising their website to include curriculum guides, articles of interest and a kids club feature, so perhaps my wish will come true. 

I hope they will add to the product line - I suspect we will love all of the Stories in Music series! 

I wish listening to this CD would show the girls how wonderful it would be if they would practice their violins.  :) 

Be sure to... 

Click here to check out the other products in the series.

Visit the website's home page and click on the individual CDs in the scrolling banner (after Mr. Simon finishes conducting) - there you'll find a short video clip, a chance to peek at the booklets, and a sample of the music.

Final thoughts...

We enjoyed this offering in the Stories in Music series so much that I plan to purchase more.  Honestly, it's likely I'll purchase them all.

As I'm typing this review, the CD has been moved from the CD  player in the living room to the CD player in the girls' room so they can listen to it while they fall asleep.  That's proof enough for me that it's a great product.

Thoughts of my crew mates...

To see other reviews of this product, click here. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


Disclaimer: As part of the 2010-2011 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the product described in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.


  1. Great review Becky. Your blog is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Mindy B

  2. Yor blog is so pretty! Nominated you for the stylish blogger award!

  3. Hi Becky,

    Thanks for the wonderful review of our Peter and the Wolf CD this winter. I just wanted to let you know that since you reveiwed our CD we've made a Facebook page so that our fans can participate in monthly giveaways (June was Peter and the Wolf, as a matter of fact) and get coupons. We'd love to invite you and your readers to join our page and thanks again for the lovely review! In reference to your wish for more educational links, visit the "Educational Materials" section of our new website for links to free homeschool curriculum to go with our CDs!

    Social Media Coordinator
    Maestro Classics