You’re probably already familiar with “Carnival of the Animals.” I’ve had it on CD for well over a decade and we watch the animated version of it on Fantasia 2000 often. Just because I was already very familiar with the music did not mean that this week’s CD, “Carnival of the Animals” from Maestro Classics was mundane or more of the same for me. I loved it instantly. Instead of jumping right into the musical suite, each animal is introduced with the original verses from the supporting poem by Odgen Nash. With a brief introduction to each animal it is much simpler to attach the music with the animal.
The animals’ themes, paired with the poetry, makes this album a gem. This is such an excellent introduction to classical music for children and adults alike.
When the carnival is complete the following tracks offer a brief history of Saint-Saens, the composer of the fine work, and a more detailed articulation of the musical motifs of each animal. It was very easy for my children to identify the animals and really make a connection. Other tracks offer a short explanation of the lullaby “Au Clair de la Lune” and a singalong.
In perfect pedagogical style, after all the explanations are through, “Carnival of the Animals” is performed again by the London Philharmonic Orchestra without narration, offering a wonderful opportunity to identify the animals and themes just learned. My children interacted a lot with this CD, pretending to play different instruments along with the orchestra, and copying the animal noises. They even renewed their interest in my piano. That’s powerful stuff, friends. It’s no surprise that I loved this album; something like this is right up my alley. I was a little surprised my children loved it as much as they did but I guess it just goes to show you that quality is recognized by everyone.
This is Maestro Classics’ tenth CD and their interest in high quality education of high quality music does not appear to be waning. To use their music in your own educational setting, check out their compilation of educational materials available on their website.