Camille Saint-Saens was a French composer, organist, and pianist. He was considered a child prodigy on the piano – playing in his first concert at around age 10. He played and toured all over the world and is particularly beloved for his composition “The Carnival of Animals”, known for its humorous approach that has won many a child’s heart for classical music. You will recognize MUCH of this!
The Carnival of Animals has 14 short movements – each representing a different animal or animals (1 – Lion, 2- Hens & Roosters, 3 – Wild Donkeys, 4-Tortoises, 5-Elephant, 6 – Kangaroos, 7 – Aquarium, 8- Characters with long ears, 9 – the cuckoo in the depths of the woods, 10-aviary, 11- pianists, 12-fossils, 13-the swan, and 14-finale). Can you imagine each animal as you hear the different sections?
TRIVIA: Can anyone identify a movie that has used the music from 7-Aquarium? Which section sounds like someone is practicing Hanon exercises or scales? What movement was the only publication of this work in Saint-Saen’s lifetime (one of the MOST beautiful!)?
♫Listen here♬: Carnival of Animals
Considered one of the greatest jazz pianists of all times, Oscar Peterson was well-loved by millions across the world. Duke Ellington called him the “Maharaja of the keyboard.” He started his piano career with classical piano and at the age of 14 won a talent show which expanded his opportunities. He slowly added a season of boogie-woogie which moved into swing and bop styles. His brilliance at the piano was shown by the way he displayed incredible dexterity, speed, outstanding rhythm, and transitions between styles. He is known for a singing voice that was nearly identical to Nat King Cole. Oscar composed, performed, improvised…he recorded multiple albums and played in hundreds of concerts throughout his over 60 year career. PURE FUN TO LISTEN TO HIS MUSIC – will make you smile!
Check out a little piano lesson he gives here to get a sense of his style and personality (OSCAR PIANO LESSON).
Check out this fantastic performance of an entire piano piece (OSCAR PIANO PERFORMANCE).
Known as the father of the classical guitar, which is the predecessor of every other modern guitar genre. A self-taught musician, Segovia transcribed the works of J. S. Bach into guitar repertoire, and his efforts promoted the guitar from the lowly status of a folk instrument into recognition as a full-fledged member of the modern orchestra.
Andres Segovia believed all the sounds of the orchestra could be reproduced, albeit on a much smaller scale, through playing the guitar. This fascinating video demonstrates his view, as well as his masterful artistry, of his instrument: CLICK HERE
Check out our September Composer of the Month!
Born in Germany in 1967, he is a modern day composer who has won many awards in the world of movies, tv shows and video games. He also is well known for composing the music for the closing ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Might you recognize some of his music? Maybe from Prince of Egypt? Or Gladiator? Or Pirates of the Caribbean?
Click on the note below for a fun video of “He’s a Pirate” by Klaus Badelt that highlights some of the processes of composing. ENJOY!