The Carnival of the Dinosaurs is both a children’s picture book and an orchestral work for children with narrator.
The idea for “Carnival of the Dinosaurs” came to me after thinking about additions to the orchestral repertoire of works that can be played for symphonic children’s concerts in the genre of Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”, Saint Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals” and Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”. Like these works it features solo instruments and has plenty of excerpts that can be played to demonstrate the sound qualities of the various instruments and is intended to be performed with a Narrator.
Like “Peter and the Wolf” I wanted my Dinosaurs to have a story that brings the various animals to life. Everyone knows that children love dinosaurs, however they tend to presented in a very science-focused way and perhaps targeted at young boys rather than young girls. I therefore chose to make the hero/anti-hero of my story a girl, Tyrannosaurus Regina.
After the madness of Trump’s Tweets I wanted my next orchestral piece to be rather more classical (or neo-classical), but various elements of the sound world of Trump’s Tweets still made their way into the Dinos. I used Electric Guitar and Electric Bass using both distortion and fuzz pedals as one example.
The book is in seven chapters and the orchestral piece in seven movements:
Triceratops and Ankylosaurus
The Carnival of the Dinosaurs is written for 2 solo pianos (like Saint Saens) and orchestra. There is also a version for 2 solo pianos and 14 players, created for these crazy “corona” times we’re currently living in and an even smaller version for 2 solo pianos and 8 players.
I had collaborated with two wonderful colleagues on children’s concerts previously, namely Peter Engel and Michael Heuberger. Peter is an extraordinary artist, and I approached him to illustrate the book. Michael has narrated many of the children’s concerts I’ve conducted in Regensburg and will narrate the world premiere performance on November 11, 2021. The two solo pianos will be performed by Freddy Kempf and Natalia Sheludiakova.