Poems, music, and animal crackers! What could be better?
By Hilary Major, LS, MS, US strings instructor
Carnival of the Animals is a well loved piece of music, by both children and adults. When Camille Saint-Saens wrote it in 1886 he would not let it be published while he was alive. He thought it was just for fun and he did not think it was serious enough to be published. He left instructions in his will that the piece could be published once he died and so, after Saint-Saen’s death in 1921, the piece was published. Ogden Nash wrote poems to go along with the suite in 1949. Often the poems are read along with the performances of the music. I bought an arrangement of the piece for string orchestra a few years ago to do with the orchestra, and while I was studying the score and looking through YouTube videos of various performances. I found some great clips of the poems being read by Roger Moore. I thought it would be great to have a middle school drama class read the poems while we performed the music for lower school. Then, while walking through lower school after school one day, I saw in the snack cabinet some animal crackers, and it all came together. Poems, music and animal crackers, what could be better?