Carnival of the Animals (includes Fossils, the Swan, Aquarium)
Saint-Saëns's zoological fantasy reaches its highest-ever position
The Carnival of the Animals is a musical suite of fourteen animal-inspired movements by the French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saëns. Each suite sees the instruments representing the characteristics of a different animal, from the stately march of the violins in the first suite representing a lion, to the low rumblings from the double bass representing an elephant.
Arguably the most famous of all the suites is No. 13 'The Swan', which features gliding cello lines and two pianos.
Saint-Saëns premiered his 'grand zoological fantasy' privately. It was written as a bit of fun for friends, around carnival time, which was early in the year in 1880s Paris. It was another thirty-five years until it was heard again, receiving its first premiere just two months after he died.
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