Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Peter and the Piano (and the Wolf)

Does anyone remember that there used to be a Google Video site which originally was set up to compete with YouTube? I actually chose Google Video as my upload site of choice back in those wild days when YouTube seemed kind of scary and illegal. Well, Google gave up on competing fairly quickly and simply bought YouTube instead; now, several years later, Google is removing content from users like me, so I'll be transferring stuff to YouTube that appeared on my blog via Google Video. (It may take awhile to finish that process, so it's possible that spinning the ol' Multimedia Musing Machine over in the margin will lead to a few dead links for now. But you should still spin the wheel!)

One of the advantages of Google Video over YouTube back in the day was that the Google platform allowed much longer clips to be uploaded. So, here's an 11:41 video that exceeded YouTube's old 10-minute limit, though YouTube's standard limit is now 15 minutes. It's a homemade puppet version of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf that we performed for my daughter's 4-yr old birthday party about eight years ago. It was all thrown together the night before, using puppets we made (the party itself was puppet-themed) and a somewhat abbreviated script I typed up. My wife narrated, she and my sister (who made the fabulous wolf puppet) operated the puppets, and I slashed my way through a piano reduction of the music from behind the camera. I'd like to emphasize that I did not practice very much. (Sort of an early Piano Hero experience.)

This is actually video of an encore performance we did for my daughter after the party. (The party version went OK, but there were a few technical difficulties, and the audience was delightfully loud.) I originally blogged about it here, focusing on the whole "piano reduction" issue. As I mentioned then, it's maybe surprising that this works well on piano (if you agree that it does), given that we're all taught to listen for the flute/bird, oboe/duck, clarinet/cat, etc. connections, but Prokofiev is one of the greatest piano composers ever, and his folksy tunes are worth hearing in just about any context.

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