Bruce Adolphe, creator of a new and extremely humorous set of poems to accompany The Carnival of the Animals, recounts that they were written following a performance Adolphe gave of the original Ogden Nash poems, at a music festival in Monticello, New York. He found the original poetry to be out of touch with today's children and wanted to write a narration that would be more "kid friendly." After he faxed the newly written poems to his friend, Itzhak Perlman, the great violinist immediately wanted to record them. This new Telarc recording demonstrates the actor-comedian side of Perlman, who tackles the narration with relish, and a kaleidoscope of voices and dialects.
When Saint-Saens composed Carnival of the Animals, he thought of the pieces as a musical joke, and would not allow it to be published until after his death. Originally written as a chamber work, the composer also left behind a version for full orchestra, which was premiered in Paris by the Colonne Orchestra under Gabriel Pierne, within two months following Saint-Saens' death.