Peter and the Wolf (Warner Classics), featuring Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with narration by Alexander Armstrong, has reached number one on the UK’s Official Specialist Chart.

Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67 (1936) is a ‘symphonic fairy tale for children’ by Sergei Prokofiev. In recording this work, Alexander Armstrong joins a veritable hall of fame, including David Tennant, Phillip Schofield, Willie Rushton, Lenny Henry, David Attenborough, Dame Edna Everage, John Gielgud, Ben Kingsley, Patrick Stewart, Sting, Christopher Lee, Peter Ustinov, Paul Hogan, Dudley Moore, Terry Wogan, David Bowie, Richard Baker, Ralph Richardson, Richard Attenborough, Sean Connery, Michael Flanders, Alec Guinness, Basil Rathbone.

The Carnival of the Animals is a humorous musical suite of fourteen movements by Camille Saint-Saëns. In 1949, Ogden Nash wrote a set of humorous verses to accompany each movement for a Columbia Masterworks recording conducted by Andre Kostelanetz. They were recited on the original album by Noël Coward, dubbed over or spliced in between sections of the previously recorded music

In 1954 the English composer Alan Rawsthorne set six of the poems from T.S Elliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939) in a work for speaker and orchestra entitled Practical Cats, which was recorded by EMI soon afterwards with Robert Donat (The 39 Steps, Goodbye Mr Chips). – Presto Classical

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