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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sergei Prokofiev's musical fairy tale Peter and the Wolf is popular with children but not with wolf lovers, and two former world leaders -- Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev -- aim to put that right in a new recording.
They have teamed up in a new recording that couples the tale with a contemporary version featuring the same two protagonists but a very different ending.
Prokofiev's version ends with Peter capturing the wolf and leading a triumphant procession to the zoo, paining music-loving environmentalists with romantic visions of wolves in the wild.
In the new version, narrated by former U.S. president Clinton and called Wolf Tracks, Peter again captures the wolf, but this time repents of his act and releases the animal, who howls a grateful goodbye.
"Forgetting his triumph, Peter thought instead of fallen trees, parched meadows, choked streams, and of each and every wolf struggling for survival," Clinton narrates.
"The time has come to leave wolves in peace," he adds.
French composer Jean-Pascal Beintus wrote the score for the new wolf-friendly version while former Soviet leader Gorbachev provides an introduction and epilogue.
"In Prokofiev's classic, man dominates, but Wolf Tracks expresses quite different values of balance and tolerance. All of us hope for a future where these values are lived every day," Gorbachev said.
Italian actress Sophia Loren narrates Prokofiev's traditional tale, which features the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Kent Nagano. It is to be released on the PentaTone Classics label on Sept. 23.
Part of the proceeds will go to the New York-based Wolf Conservation Center, which supports the reintroduction of wolves into the wild.
The accompanying booklet includes an article supposedly written by a wolf.
"On behalf of all wolves, I would like to thank Kent Nagano and the Russian National Orchestra, Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev and Sophia Loren for coming together to make this recording," the wolf writes.
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