EAU CLAIRE -- The Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra next month is releasing its CD and book set, “Carnival of the Animals: Eau Claire Edition.”
The CD features ECCO's performance of Camille Saint Saëns' “Carnival of the Animals," conducted by Frank Watkins, with original poems read by local authors Jim and Jane Jeffries, Tom Giffey, Jennifer Eddy and Jeannie Roberts. The recording was done in front of a live audience on Jan. 25 in the RCU Theatre of Pablo Center at the Confluence. The book contains 10 images by illustrator Léna Henry.
The set will be available for purchase on Dec. 1 at The Local Store (thelocalstore.org) and the ECCO website (eauclairechamberorchestra.com) for $25.
Saint Saëns wrote "Carnival of the Animals" in 1886 for his students as a bit of a joke. Due to its lighthearted nature, it was only performed for private audiences until its public premiere in 1922. Ogden Nash wrote poems to accompany the music and recorded the piece with Noel Coward as the narrator. It has become a beloved staple of classical music for children ever since.
As part of its annual free Family & Friends concert, ECCO collaborated with local authors to rewrite the poems with Chippewa Valley lore. From the Chickens and Roosters of City Council ordinances to Old Abe, the eagle perched on the roof of Memorial High School, the animals and their associated music remind residents of cultural touchstones unique to the community.
This CD follows in the tradition of ECCO recordings of children’s classical music. Other available CDs include "Five Fairy Tales" (2018), "The Fantastic Voyage of Pieter Breugel" (DVD 2008) and "ECCO Tells the Tale: Pieter Breugel and Night Driving" (2005).