L'Orchestre Symphonique De La Radiodiffusion Nationale Belge - Les Carnaval Des Animaux

L'Orchestre Symphonique De La Radiodiffusion Nationale Belge - Les Carnaval Des Animaux

Catalogue Code: 782162

Barcode: 5050457821623

Release Date: 22 Aug 2011

It is, perhaps, ironic that the piece by which Saint-Saëns, the composer of symphonies, concertos and the like, is best-known comes from a work which he never allowed to be published complete in his lifetime. The Swan saw print in 1887, the year after it was composed, but Le Carnaval des Animaux, of which it is a part, remained in manuscript until much later. When Saint-Saëns died in 1921, at the age of eighty-six and very much the Grand Old Man of French music, his will was found to contain the following clause referring to his manuscripts: "I expressly forbid the publication of any unpublished work, save Le Carnaval des Animaux, which may be issued by my usual publishers, MM. Durand et Cie." And thus, thirty-five years after they were written, these fourteen pieces, making up what their composer sub-titled a Grande Fantaisie Zoologique, was issued as a complete work for the first time. Since then, Le Carnaval des Animaux has never failed to amuse when two pianos and a handful of instruments - string quintet, flute, clarient, harmonica, xylophone and celesta, to be exact - are gathered together. If Le Carnaval des Animaux may be enjoyed today as a musical relaxation, that is also what its composition afforded Saint-Saëns in February of 1886. Just a year previously, he had published his Harmonie et Mélodie - not, as such a title would suggest, a textbook, but a collection of critical writings. The lip-service he paid Wagner's genius in this book left no doubt that his own musical tenets were far removed from those of Bayreuth. At a time when, even in France, Wagnerism had assumed the proportions of a cultural religion, Saint-Saëns's Gallic disbelief and academically reactionary attitude made him a butt for critical gibes. Neither the book nor the Paris reviews passed unnoticed in Geramny. where Saint-Saëns was well-know - so that when he toured several German towns as pianist and composer in January, 1886, he encountered much hostility, both from the press and from a section of the public incited by it. Although a friendly reception in some places compensated for this, Saint-Saëns's biographer Bonnerot says it was "as much to forget this affront as to rest from the tour" that Saint-Saëns withdrew for a few days to a small Austrian town, and there wrote this Fantaisie, which lack of time had formerly prevented him from writing for his pupils at the École Niedermayer. The first performance, in which Saint-Saëns and Louis Diémer were the pianists, took place in Paris at the annual Shrove Tuesday concert of the 'cellist Lebouc on March 9th, 1886. A few days later it was repeated at the Mid-Lent concert of the chamber music society known as "La Trompette." Liszt, who happened to be in Paris, heard accounts of the work, and at his request a strictly private performance was given for him at the home of Madame Viardot. And that concluded the early history of Le Carnaval des Animaux, for after a few years, during which performances were allowed only under certain conditions, the work came under Saint-Saëns's definite interdict, lifted only by his will. 1. Introduction & 2. Royal March of the Lion. Fanfares for the two pianos and the strings. 3. Cocks and Hens. Farmyard cluckings for the pianos, upper strings and one solitary clarinet phrase. 4. Wild Asses. The swift animals scurry up and down the two keyboards an octave apart. 5. Tortoises. Under a piano pulsing, the strings slow down two tunes from Offenbach's "Orpheus in the Underworld" to the pace of tortoises. 6. The Elephant. Here the piano accompanies the double-bass in a solo in which a few bars from the Dance of the Sylphs from Berlioz's Damnation of Faust tails off into a hint of the Scherzo from Mendelssohn's music to A Midsummer Night's Dream. 7. Kangaroos, that hop on the two keyboards in turn. 8. Aquarium, delicately depicted by flute, harmonica, pianos and strings. 9. People with long ears. These are described by two violin

1. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: Introduction
2. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: Royal March Of The Lion
3. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: Cocks And Hens
4. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: Wild Asses
5. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: Tortoises
6. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: The Elephant
7. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: Kangaroos
8. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: Aquarium
9. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: People With Long Ears
10. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: The Cuckoo In The Heart Of The Woods
11. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: Aviary
12. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: Pianists
13. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: Fossils
14. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: The Swan
15. Les Carnaval Des Animaux: Finale