The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony


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A Biophony™ Album

The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony for Orchestra and Wild Soundscapes, is the first Western large-scale composition to utilize natural soundscapes as a component of orchestration, integrating them into the composition as instrumental voices. The entire symphony, a collaboration between composer, Richard Blackford and soundscape ecologist, Bernie Krause, was drawn from the textures, rhythms and melodies inherent in Krause’s field recordings (and inspired by his recent book of the same title). Combined with Blackford’s orchestration of Camille Saint-Saëns, Carnival of the Animals, the works are performed by the 70 piece BBC National Orchestra of Wales. This recording is an homage to the source of our music, the voice of the natural world. It includes a BBC 20 minute intro to the piece…a conversation led by Christopher Cook with Bernie Krause & Richard Blackford.

“This music speaks with great eloquence, authority and immediacy, but not only on behalf of human beings: it speaks also for the natural world, casting light upon humanity’s often less than felicitous relationship with our fellow creatures.” - Michael McManus, Gramaphone Magazine (UK), 22 July 2014


The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony for Orchestra & Wild Soundscapes       30:21

  1. Introduction and Tuning. Andante – Allegro assai 7:12
  2. Scherzo and Riffs. Vivace 4:45
  3. Elegy. Andante 7:48
  4. March and Charge. Maestroso – Allegro molto 5:14
  5. Variations: Song of the Musician Wren. Vivace 5:22

                        (Keyboard Sampler: Katherine Roe Williams)


Saint-Saëns: Le carnival des animaux      23:17

  1. Introduction et marche royale du lion 1:59
  2. Poules et coqs 0:41
  3. Hémiones (animaux véloces) 0:49
  4. Tortues 1:47
  5. L’éléphant (solo contrabassoon David Buckland) 1:39
  6. Kangourous 1:06
  7. Aquarium 2:33
  8. Personnages à longues oreilles 0:52
  9. Le coucou au fond des bois 2:25
  10. Volière (solo flute Matthew Featherstone) 1:25
  11. Pianistes (…Imaginaires) 1:19
  12. Fossiles 1:22
  13. Le cygnet (solo horn Tim Thorpe) 3:10
  14. Final 2:16

BBC Pre-concert symphony discussion, Cheltenham Festival 2014 20:48

Richard Blackford and Bernie Krause in conversation with Christopher Cook before the premier of The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony, at the Cheltenham Music Festival, 12 July 2014. Music examples played live by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Martyn Brabbins. Produced for the BBC Radio 3 by Callum Thomson.


NOTE: This product is delivered as three separate "zip" files, one containing audio files for "The Great Animal Orchestra," one containing audio files for "Carnival of the Animals," and one containing cover art and liner notes.