Music Class at CMA
Upper Elementary Music classes have been busily studying the works of the Romantic-era composer, Camille Saint-Saens. This Frenchman wrote major orchestral works such as his famous tone poem, “Danse Macabre.”
The students described the piece as, “ghoulish, creepy, suspenseful, dramatic.” They learned how Saint Saens organized his composition by using three distinct themes, which students listened for, and signaled by holding up different cards (a skeleton cartoon for theme A, a jack ‘o lantern for theme B, etc).
In a previous lesson, they listened to the full recording of, “The Carnival of the Animals,” by the same composer. Saint-Saens wrote this piece for children, whom he loved, but would not allow it to be performed on stage during his lifetime. (He was a SERIOUS composer, after all!) Rather, “Carnival” was to be used at parties, as light entertainment.
Each of the many movements represent a different animal (such as a lion, elephant, hen, swan, etc) or a group of creatures (an aviary and an aquarium). It is great fun to try to guess what the instruments are communicating before looking at the title of the movement! These recordings are both available from the Public Library and online, if you’d like to explore them further with your child.
Students were given time to “free-draw” to both compositions, letting their mind create images that followed the music. Here are a couple of examples of their incredible work!