Kids' Commute: The Carnival of the Animals

Jun 2, 2015

Hear "The Carnival of the Animals" this week on Kids' Commute!

It’s the final week of the school year! It’s become a tradition here on the Kids’ Commute to celebrate the last week of school with The Carnival of the Animals, by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. We’ll hear Leonard Bernstein conduct, and also describe every movement of the musical suite for us. Let’s jump right in!

The Carnival of the Animals was written in 1886. The piece is a sort of zoo, where Camille Saint-Saëns describes all sorts of different animals musically! Saint-Saëns wrote the music for his friends to enjoy, but also to give young musicians something fun to play. 


So, throughout the zoological romp this week, we’ll hear 7 young people performing alongside the string section of the New York Philharmonic.

Leonard Bernstein explains that there are a few inside jokes in the music for today.

In the first instance, Saint-Saëns wants to describe turtles and tortoises in his music. So, he picks the fastest music he can think of, and then slows it down to a incredibly slow crawl!

For the elephants, Saint-Saëns pulls of a similar trick- he picks two of the most fairy-like tunes he can think of, and gives them to the low and heavy double basses to play!  

So, today we’ll hear the slow turtles and tortoises, the rather large elephants, and the skippy kangaroos. 

Do you think the music fits the animals in today’s show?

Music piece for today:
The next three animals from The Carnival of the Animals performed by the New York Philharmonic and conducted by Leonard Bernstein

Listen to the Kids’ Commute live on Classical IPR every weekday morning at 7:40am or listen to the archived episode at the top of the post.