The Carnival of Animals

I had the chance to see The Carnival of Animals by Camille Saint Sanës which was performed by the Zagreb Music Academy Chamber Orchestra in Zagreb , Croatia and was performed on January 1st 2011. This classical piece has fourteen movements and had many different kinds of instruments, from pianos, violins, violas, cellos, to double bass , clarinet , flute and xylophone . Carnival of Animals is a classical piece in which its fourteen movements portrays different kinds of animals. The instruments mimic the sounds or the animals act in a very beautiful manner.

The Introduction and Royal March of the Lions- was very grand and actually a short piece but it figured a prideful intake of the lions with the strings and the fast sounds of running scales in the piano that reminded me of the roars a lion would make . The piano played a march theme that was carried throughout the introduction as the strings carried out the melody . The two groups of instruments alternated with the pianos playing a higher and softer sound then it ends with a fortissimo note from all the instruments .

The second movement Hens and Cocks – was surprisingly a combination of humor and nervousness , the anxiousness of the strings suggested as if the hens were scratching or clucking and the staccato figure followed by a amazing set of trills in the pianos was to sound as a roster was crowing in the morning .

Next were the wild donkeys or swift animals , the animals are depicted to be running around, an image induced by the fast up – and down movement of the piano playing in an octave .

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Next was the tortoises , played in a very painful slow tune by low – registered strings accompanied by the piano. There was also a use of dissonance to resemble the reptile . Next was the elephant, played by the double bass and cello and to me it is marked as an allegro pomposo, the perfect sound of an elephant . The piano plays a waltz style while the bass hums underneath . Then the kangaroos came , the piano gave out a hopping sound which was made up of some triads with some very graceful notes . If you listen closely you hear that when the chords ascended they got louder and faster but when they descended the cords were slower and softer as a tortoise .

The Aquarium was meant to sound like a coral reef full of peacefully swimming fish. The flute sounded like a tiger beatles and the white snake was performed by scales weaving across the pianos. The first piano places a ten – on – one and eight by one ostinato , while the second does a six on one . The Personnages à longues oreilles this is the shortest of all the movements .

Two violins alternates playing high louder notes and low buzzing notes in a way it sounds like a donkey braying . In The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods , the two pianos and the clarinet are seen here , the two pianos play large soft chords while the clarinet comes along and plays a two – note ostinato , mimicking the sound of a cuckoo bird. The next one was by far my favorite Volière . The strings take on a background role giving it a buzz that is reminiscent of the noise of the jungle . The cellos and basses play a cadence to lead into most of the measure. The flute plays a thrilling tune that resembles a bird. And the pianos also added sounds of other birds then the movement ends quietly after the flute plays a long chromatic scale .

The pianists which was humorous because the composer portrays pianists as animals . Each one starts with a trill on the first and second note , then proceeds in few changes in the rhythm . The transitions between keys are accomplished by a blasting chord from all the other instruments . It reminds me of beginners feeling nervousness but it was weird how the ending did not resolve the situation but rather lead to the next movement.The fossils , strings , two pianos , clarinet , and xylophone came together .

The xylophone evokes skeletons playing alternating with the violins , pianos and the clarinet . You can hear twinkle twinkle little stars and Au Clair de la Lune one of my favorite nursery rhymes when I was younger . The Swan, a very elegant animal was portrayed nicely with the cello moving slowly which made the swan gracefully gliding over water is played over one piano rippling and another rolling the chords . This is the most known movement of the suite .

Finally the final was a full ensemble , it opened on the same trills in the pianos as the introduction which was followed by the strings instruments , the strings brought the tension up with few low notes leading with the pianos before the lively melody began. Many of the animals were reintroduced , the lions, donkeys , hens, and kangaroos. Then it ends with a series of six ‘Hee Haws’ from the donkeys as they had the final laugh and a applause by the audience .

Overall the audience seemed to really enjoy the concert and so did i. It was humorous and made me love classical pieces since this was more different than any other classical piece for example Mozart or Bach . It was more of a fun and exciting piece that anyone from all ages can enjoy and I promise this piece will not disappoint you what’s so ever.

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