Picks and Pans Review: Peter & the Wolf

updated 11/21/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/21/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Wendy Carlos and "Weird Al" Yankovic

The music, arranged by Carlos and played effectively by her on synthesizers, is still basically Prokofiev (with hints of the themes from Star Wars and Psycho). It's clear that the narration has been updated, however, when, in introducing the fable's characters, Yankovic notes that Louie the cat is played by the clarinet, Bruce the duck by an oboe, Seymour the wolf by French horns and "as always, the part of Bob the janitor is played by the accordion"—whereupon Al launches into a few bars of Beer Barrel Polka. That sets the general tone, which continues until Seymour has been subdued and Yankovic exclaims that Bruce has been eaten alive, which in this case means, "the gastric juices slowly dissolved his body, and he died a long, painful death," although "just a few years later he was reincarnated as Shirley MacLaine." The record's second side features a variation on Saint-Saëns and Ogden Nash's Carnival of the Animals. Carlos noodles around pleasantly, while Yankovic recites rhymes about animals in the form of poetry resembling either wild Nash or tame Shel Silverstein. Of the alligator, for instance, Al says, "Although his life-style may seem crass/I really wouldn't knock it/He'd never wear a shirt/That has a yuppie on the pocket." It's not exactly classical music, perhaps, but it's all relaxed and good-natured. At the end, Yankovic says, "Poor Wendy's getting down in the dumps/Her fingers are worn to stumps/And so this record now is through/Go find something else to do." (CBS)

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