Carnival of the Animals
INTRODUCTION: THE ORCHESTRA
Is it a flock? Is it a herd?
It’s black and white. Animal? Bird?
It’s gathered for a carnival
to raise the roof of our Town Hall.
Why are they waiting? Why are they still?
Why aren’t they playing? Ah!.....They will....
With style, pizzazz and sheer bravado
they’ll ‘Follow the Leader’: - Alvarado!
The carnival is under way.
There’s magic in the air today-
Saint-Saens (and NO, he’s NOT ‘Saint-Sanes’)
has orchestrated fun....and games.
This company has come along
to strike the chords in Wollongong
All the creatures are inspired
(though not chromatically attired)
to run the gamut of their scales
in lights and darks, in brights and pales.
A rainbow of dynamic range
from black and white! – That’s rather strange!
Their ‘soft’ is like a kitten’s purr.
Their ‘loud’ a marching lion’s roar.
A boffin, scurrying on his way,
has work to do. No time to play.
Infinity + minus nought.......
a deeply mystifying thought.
But no! He hears!
With ears he hears!
and clears away
the dust of years
that clutters all his matter grey.
It’s Carnival! It’s Holiday!
IV. OLD GREY MAYOR
The old grey mayor might come today.
(Now settle down! We must be fair!
He’s wanted here, demanded there,
from Way Down South to Scarborough Fair
and we know he can’t be everywhere.)
Perhaps he’ll share his stack of hay
to keep the creatures housed and fed
(for creatures need both food and bed.
So says the R.S.P.C.A.)
So once again,
V. TORTOISE AND SNAIL
Attention Please! We've loads of time.
Let's test an ancient paradigm.
Let's race the tortoise and the snail
against the South Coast City Rail!
Saint-Saens admired the elephant,
but here the creature’s not extant.
I’m quite relieved that this is true:
it’s bad enough with doggy-do.
And now a creature that’s True Blue!
Skip to it! It’s the kangaroo!
With boi-ing boi-ing boi-ing he clears the ground!
Cor blimey can he leap and bound!
VIII. PELICAN AND FISH
The pelican is a cunning bird.
His bill, although it looks absurd
and gross and loose and even futile,
is actually, gastronomically utile.
He’s only thinking of his stomach
when offering fish his mobile hammock.
He knows the best place for this stunt
is Belmore Basin, harbour-front.
IX. DONKEY/ PEOPLE WITH LONG EARS
What was that? Did a critic bray?
Well if that’s all you’ve got to say,
go take a trot up Bulli Pass
and shove your opinions ...(limply) in the grass.
Most cuckoos are of bad repute.
They dump their kids and off they shoot
to party on without a care.
Irresponsible! Most unfair!
What a chorus greets the dawning
celebrating every morning:
wrens and magpies! What a sound!
There’s joyful singing all around:
soaring, diving, flying free.
The world’s awake! And calling me!
Pianists! -Well, we all know they’re different.....
but we have two.
They try so hard.
They really do.
They try again.....
There’ll be no gain
if there’s no pain.
THEY want to get it more exacter.
WE want a little more...X-FACTOR.
XIII. PREHISTORY / SPECTRES
Listen to this eerie rattle:
wooden knocking, whining metal.
What mysterious sounds are these?.....
We hear a miner’s memories
of times gone by: the work...the friends...
the sing-alongs that made amends
for hours in tunnels underground.
He’s haunted by the rhythmic sound.
A moment’s silence. Let us think
upon the coal-truck – soon extinct.
XIV. OCEAN, MOUNTAIN AND MOON.
A little while and night will fall
and end the animals’ Carnival.
The moon will rise and shining still
her milk of kindness gently spill
across the ocean far and wide
and all along the mountain-side.
She’ll put another light on things:
An Illawarra evening brings
a different kind of magic spell-
a different animal tale to tell:
a swan-like end that slowly fades
into a nocturne’s softer shades.....
But not so fast. We’ve yet to play
our final hip hip hip hooray!
and once upon another time
we’ll come again with song and rhyme
with music and with razza-matazz
to share the classics and jive the jazz.
For Wollongong Symphony Orchestra 2005
Wollongong Town Hall