Carnival of The Animalsby Camille Saint Saens Exploring descriptive sounds Summer 2011
Saint Saens life He was born in France in 1835 At 10 he was a child star and played the piano At 13 he begun composing. By the time he died he wrote over 300 works He refused to allow “Carnival of the Animals” to be published in his lifetime as he thought that it would damage his reputation.
Carnival of the animals It is a set of orchestral character pieces, each of which is meant to describe a particular animal, usually by mimicking the sounds it makes or characterizing the way it moves or carries itself.
The piece is written for two solo pianos and a small orchestra of flute, piccolo, clarinet, xylophone, glass harmonica (usually replaced these days by celesta or glockenspiel in performance), and strings
Introduction and Royal March of the Lion. Very regal and grand, featuring a full, swaggering figure in the strings and fast, running scales in the pianos that convincingly mimic lion roars.
2.Hens and cockerels. is a humorously nervous movement, with jittery string figures that suggest scratching, clucking hens and staccato figures followed by trills in the pianos that sound much like crowing roosters
3.Wild Asses The great running speed of these beasts is evoked by the use of frantic, intense scalar passagework in the two pianos. No orchestral accompaniment here.
4.Tortoises The tempo really matches the painfully slow lumbering of this reptile
5 The Elephant Consists of a brisk, but lumbering and clumsy waltz melody played by the contrabasses and supported by an earnest piano accompaniment.
6. Kangaroos is scored just for the two pianos and consists of clipped, irregular phrases that suggest the hopping of startled roos
7.The aquarium a tankful of peacefully swimming fish is evoked by slow, languorous music which is decorated by delicate filigree material in the glass harmonica. The effect is placid and serene
8 Donkeys Big change in mood from last track! Written for violins.
9.The Cuckoo a quiet, cryptic passage in the pianos is continually interrupted by a cuckoo-ing clarinet.
10. The aviary Busy, yet relaxed melodic figures run through the pianos and flute over a rustling string accompaniment. The similarity in sound to a flock of mixed birds is very noticeable.
The Pianists?!? Why do you think Saint Saens included this?
12. Fossils The tunes you will hear are based on 2 melodies that would have been very famous to the audiences when Saint Saens was alive
13. The Swan This is played by a solo cello with piano accompaniment. The movement is warm and expressive, evoking the gliding grace of a contemplative swimming swan.
Finale Can you hear which animals are included? Which animals are left out?