A couple weeks back I engaged in a love affair with Peter and the Wolf (not that I don’t always love Peter, but you know how certain pieces will drift in and out of your focus depending on your mood). While attempting to determine whether or not the narrator of the Disney Peter cartoon was Sterling Holloway (it was — yippee!) I came upon the Wikipedia entry for the piece. Deep in the copy was a link to something called Wolf Tracks, and I, being one of insatiable curiosity, clicked.
Well. It’s a piece by a French composer Jean-Pascal Beintus with a story by Walt Kreamer, and has something of an environmentalist tale about how we should “leave the wolves in peace;” here is the link to the script.
Now I love animals very much. I subscribe to the Fund for Animals newsletter and often sign their petitions. But seriously, this Wolf Tracks business strikes me as silly. Peter and the Wolf is simply a children’s story intended to introduce them to orchestral music, not a paean to consumerism and animal abuse. To attempt to turn it into a heavy-handed parable I think does the original a disservice, much as I think Joan Tower’s Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman is nothing in the face of and adds little to Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man.
Is anyone familiar with Wolf Tracks, or perhaps with another “reactionary” piece of music of which they are particularly fond? What do you think of this form of homage, and when do you think it’s justified, if ever? Has a “sequel” or “tribute” piece ever overshadowed its originator? Am I completely wrong?