Saint-Saens saw this suite merely as a piece of fun. Concerned that it would detract from his reputation and that others would not perceive it as serious music, only The Swan was published in his lifetime. Fun? Yes! But seriously good music too! I LOVE the Carnival of the Animals.
It's immensely enjoyable to listen to (which you can do here) and a wonderful resource to generate discussion about creating personality, style and musical interpretation in students' playing. How DOES Saint-Saens make each piece sound like the particular animal it is inspired by? How can YOU play like a swan? Or like an elephant? I like to feel there are no wrong answers here - it's interesting to hear what students come up with. Some students may need some prompting however to help them interpret the music.
There are 14 pieces in the suite and as a pianist, should this one be my favourite?!