Tag Archives: The Carnival of the Animals

🎻♫♪ – The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
 30/501Title: The Carnival of the Animals
Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns
Nationality: French

I needed this album. All the music that I have listened to for this classical list is so serious or pious that it is easy to forget that there were composers out there who were having a bit of fun with the art form. This is why I was so keen on listening to The Carnival of the Animals – a series of short pieces that take cues from different animals. Seriously, this is the antidote to yet another choral piece.

When listening to The Carnival of the Animals it helps to have the track list to hand to find out which animal you are meant to be listening to. Some of the pieces, such as the ‘Kangaroos’ and the ‘Aviary’, are pretty obvious whilst others, like the ‘Elephant’ and the ‘Fossils’, need a bit of helpful clarification.

Speaking of ‘Fossils’, it’s criminal that Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre doesn’t feature on the list. Therefore the small rendition of this piece within ‘Fossils’, which happens just before a short rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, is as close as I’ll get to that on this list.

Getting slightly back on track, it always makes me happy when, for this list, I am able to find a context to classical pieces I know from osmosis. Within The Carnival of the Animals there are two of these which now have homes in my internal Rolodex. The first is ‘Swan’, which I am not sure how I know it but there was a glimmer of recognition when I heard it; the other is ‘Aquarium’ whose beautiful cascades have brought me joy on many occasions and I am thrilled to know its origins.

I know that I am going to have to go back to something a bit more serious for the next classical piece (and probably all the others to follow), but it was nice to take a bit of a sojourn amongst the animals of the carnival.