Hereâs a question on personal preferences for works with or without spoken narration (sure to elicit strong opinions). Would be interested in reading any comments on the following or others worth mentioning.
Britten: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell (a.k.a. Young Personâs Guide)
Mendelssohn: Midsummer Nightâs Dream
Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals
Stravinsky: LâHistoire du Soldat
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 7 (Sinfonia Antartica)
A rather late reply.... Very much "it depends".
I agree with Henk that the narration is needed in the Prokofiev and
the Stravinsky. The former is basicaly a work for children, and it
very much tells a story. And in the Stravinsky, the narration seems
to me to be actually part of the music. (And for different reasons I'd
say the same of "Oedipus Rex".) The Britten is wonderful in
both versions. On the other hand, I don't think the words add much
to either the Mendelssohn or the Sain-Saens (and perhaps the VW), rather
they just seem to get in the way.
Now, what I really wonder is whether there is a viable version os
"A Lincoln Portrait" without the narration, which I find completely