Charming, light hearted work with brief poetry readings
David Russ | Fort Lauderdale, FL | 11/25/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This charming work includes music about animals, including Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals. It also features Itzhak Perlman reading brief, witty poetic introductions about each of the animals. Great for introducing children to classical music! (And for grown-ups too!!)"
Charming sounds of nature
Philly Gal | Philadelphia, PA USA | 11/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here is a sweet collection of our favorite nature-sounds composers, with the added blessing of fine narration by Itzhak Perlman of humorous new poems of Bruce Adolphe for "Carnival of the Animals". This is a typically good quality Telarc release with very clean sound. We have requested that Amazon upgrade the inadequate track listing that we found on 11/27/2008.
The opener is the lively Overture from Gioacchino Rossini's opera "The Thieving Magpie" (La Gazza Ladra) on track 1. The most dangerous bird in opera history: a magpie has stolen a silver spoon, and the poor maiden Ninetta is accused and almost loses her life. The bird's bold, stealthy movements about the town are easily imagined in this piece.
Tracks 2-5 are Ottorino Respighi's beloved, Baroque-influenced composition "The Birds" (i. Prelude, ii. The Dove, iii. The Hen, iv. The Nightingale).
Track 7 is the marvelous Jean Sibelius tone poem, "The Swan of Tuonela". This flowing, dark piece describes a complicated Finnish myth: a sacred swan lives on a black river surrounding a land of death. Suffice it to say here that the brilliant English horn playing of Patrick McFarland is a perfect mirror of the swan's gracefulness and melancholy song, while deep woodwinds & timpani create an indelible image of the swan's dark home.
Tracks 8-21 are Camille Saint-Saens "Carnival of the Animals", and this Atlanta Symphony presentation is lively and humorous. This lovable menagerie is a regular inclusion in "favorite music" compilations, many times without regard to the quality of the performance - But here, we have a GOOD one from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra! Listen closely to Itzhak Perlman's versatile recitations at the beginning of each piece, especially for "The Aquarium" where he does a clever imitation of a pompous, wordy German scientist describing the habits of tuna.
The album notes are in a beautiful booklet that gives some background on the composers and their included pieces. I don't think there is a better recording of these works, and I am not aware of other narrations by Itzhak Perlman (anyone know of others? Please add your comments here for us Perlman fans - thanks!)