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Question Description

1. Listen to Saint-Saëns’s 1886 suite, The Carnival of the Animals, all 14 movements, each one represents a different animal except the finale.

Saint-Saëns – Le carnaval des animaux (The Carnival of the Animals) (1886) (Links to an external site.)Saint-Saëns - Le carnaval des animaux (The Carnival of the Animals) (1886)

A suite in music means a series of individual dances that are connected together to make one larger work, i.e. a series of instrumental dance pieces. In addition to being a piece of accessible and understandable piece of program music this work also make fun of pianists that locked themselves in rooms for hours on end and practiced scales and arpeggios over and over. So this work is for two pianos and some additional orchestral instruments. Yet, even though the work is “tongue in cheek” it captures much of the simple impressions one might have of some animals and thus evokes the image of the animal.

Find introductory information here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Carnival_of_the_Animals (Links to an external site.)

2. View the most recent documentary about the Earth by David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

https://www.netflix.com/title/80216393 (Links to an external site.)

3. This is a more extensive and thoughtful discussion than we have written in the past. Each question is worth 25/100 points. Address each one for full credit.

First, Write a post that discusses how you interpret each animal in Saint-Saëns’s 1886 suite. Describe how the animal is presented and how you empathize or image the animal to be according to the music. For each attribute you ascribe to an animal provide a musical reason. There are 14 movements so you will have 14 descriptions with 14 musical attributes.

Second, select three or four scenes related to animals in David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet and describe how life for that animal is changing on our planet. For each animal explain how we, the people of the Earth, are seizing and taking away the wild to the point that it no longer exists.

Third, reflect on the humorous, joyful aspects of the music from 1886 in comparison to the stories that David Attenborough tells about animals in 2020 and how things changed in his lifetime. When he started out filming animals his time was not that distant from 1886.

Fourth, is there an innocence or ignorance or simple empathy and appreciation of the animal that is blind to it future reality in 2020. If this music were written today, how might it be different? Take two animals and explain.