In 1936, after spending years abroad, Prokofiev chose the worst possible time to return to the Soviet Union. Just as “Peter and the Wolf” was being composed, Stalin’s regime tightened its control over artistic culture. Why did Prokofiev go back? It is possible that he was promised a privileged artistic position within the Soviet administration. Also, the gap left by Shostakovich’s recent fall into official disfavor may have tempted Prokofiev’s careerist instincts. Upon returning, the former musical renegade dedicated himself to officially sanctioned music. Educational children’s music like “Peter and the Wolf” was well supported in Soviet Russia. Prokofiev wrote the narration himself, using it to both tell a story that would appeal to kids, and to teach them about the orchestral instruments that “play” the characters.