Carnival of the Animals (Camille Saint-Saëns arr. Phillip Littlemore)


This new transcription of Saint-Saëns The Carnival of the Animals contains six of the original fourteen movements. Opening with Introduction and The March of the Royal Lion then follows The Elephant, A Cuckoo in The Deep Woods, Fossils, The Swan and the rousing Finale that pulls together the motifs and tunes heard in previous movements.

Duration: 10′
Difficulty: 2nd Section and above

In stock



Saint-Saëns composed The Carnival of the Animals in 1886. He regarded the work as a piece of fun and was adamant that the work would not be published in his lifetime. It was published in the year following the composer’s death and the first public performance was given on 25th February 1922. It was well-received and has since become one of Saint-Saëns’s best-known works.

This brass band transcription contains six of the original fourteen movements and opens with Introduction and The March of the Royal Lion a brief, dramatic beginning is followed by a stately march for the ‘King of Beasts’ that is interrupted from time to time by the lions’ formidable roar, depicted by ferocious, low chromatic scales. In The Elephant, a solo B flat Bass sings a doleful song made from melodies ‘borrowed’ from Mendelssohn and Berlioz without apology. Next comes the relentless descending third of A Cuckoo in The Deep WoodsFossils are clearly not animals, but some of them undoubtedly were at some point, so Saint-Saëns has some fun with the xylophone rattling around like a box of old prehistoric bones. Among some little musical quotes you can listen out for ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and some references to his own ‘Dance Macabre’ whilst opera buffs may recognise Rossini’s

‘Una Voce Poca Fa’. This is followed by The Swan, which gracefully glides into view played by the horns in this arrangement. These charming animal vignettes end with a rousing Finale that in sparkling fashion pulls together the motifs and tunes heard in previous movements.

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