Quiz about A Symphony of Animals
Quiz about A Symphony of Animals

A Symphony of Animals Trivia Quiz


This quiz, inspired by an Author Challenge by kyleisalive, features a brief survey of animals in classical music. How many do you recognize?

A multiple-choice quiz by stedman. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
stedman
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
340,161
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
1190
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. Johann Sebastian Bach's "Hunting Cantata", BWV 208, contains an animal-related aria popularly known by what name? Hint

The Pigs of Brandenburg
Sleeping Dogs Awake
Sheep May Safely Graze
Cow Variations

2. The short "Duetto buffo di due gatti" ("Humorous duet for two cats") is a pastiche based mainly on music from the 1816 opera "Otello" by which composer? Hint

Benjamin Britten
Richard Wagner
Gioachino Rossini
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

3. The "Circus Polka" by Igor Stravinsky was commissioned by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus to be performed by a troupe of dancing what? Hint

Elephants
Fleas
Pigs
Horses

4. The 1924 opera "The Cunning Little Vixen" contains such characters as a fox, a badger, a dog and a chorus of hens. Who wrote it? Hint

Leos Janacek
Dmitri Shostakovich
Igor Stravinsky
Alban Berg

5. Edward Elgar's second "Wand of Youth" Suite includes two contrasting movements about "Tame" and "Wild" versions of what creatures? Hint

Wombats
Horses
Bears
Tigers

6. "And God Created Great Whales", a composition for orchestra and pre-recorded whale sounds, was written by which prolific American composer, who also published 67 numbered symphonies?

Hint

Howard Hanson
John Cage
Alan Hovhaness
Amy Beach

7. The American composer Leroy Anderson composed a piece about a dancing animal, entitled "The Waltzing..." what? Hint

Walrus
Kangaroo
Crocodile
Cat

8. The most famous operetta by Johann Strauss II is probably "Die Fledermaus". Its title refers to the German name for a flying creature, known in English as what? Hint

Bat
Pigeon
Wasp
Dragonfly

9. The "Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks" is a movement from which virtuoso suite for piano by Modest Mussorgsky?

Hint

Out of Doors
Pictures at an Exhibition
Carnival
Gaspard de la Nuit

10. Which of the following animals is not featured in Saint-SaŽns' "Carnival of the Animals"? Hint

Elephant
Swan
Tortoise
Giraffe


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Johann Sebastian Bach's "Hunting Cantata", BWV 208, contains an animal-related aria popularly known by what name?

Answer: Sheep May Safely Graze

The "Hunting Cantata" was composed by Bach in 1713 to celebrate the birthday of Duke Christian of Sachsen-Weissenfels. In the original cantata, the aria "Schafe kŲnnen sicher weiden" is sung by Pales, a Roman goddess of shepherds and sheep. The work has been arranged for many different instrumental combinations, including as a popular organ solo.
2. The short "Duetto buffo di due gatti" ("Humorous duet for two cats") is a pastiche based mainly on music from the 1816 opera "Otello" by which composer?

Answer: Gioachino Rossini

The piece is normally performed by two female singers, and consists entirely of amusing vocalizations of the word "Meow". For a long time it was believed to have been written by Rossini himself, but is now known to have been composed in 1825 by one Robert Lucas de Pearsall, and published using the pseudonym "G. Berthold".

Before sending correction notices pointing out that "Otello" was written by Verdi in 1887, please be aware that Rossini wrote a version too, over 70 years earlier. I resisted the temptation to include Verdi as an incorrect option, which would have been unkind.
3. The "Circus Polka" by Igor Stravinsky was commissioned by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus to be performed by a troupe of dancing what?

Answer: Elephants

One of the strangest commissions ever received by Stravinsky, or probably any other composer, the extraordinary performance was choreographed by the equally famous George Balanchine (who persuaded Stravinsky to provide the score). It was first performed in 1942 by a group of fifty elephants and the same number of female dancers, all in tutus.
4. The 1924 opera "The Cunning Little Vixen" contains such characters as a fox, a badger, a dog and a chorus of hens. Who wrote it?

Answer: Leos Janacek

Far more than just a cute children's opera about animals, "The Cunning Little Vixen" is a delightful and subtle piece, which has some profound things to say about man's relationship with nature and the never-ending cycle of life. Indeed, the number of deaths in it may come as a shock to parents who have not done their homework.
5. Edward Elgar's second "Wand of Youth" Suite includes two contrasting movements about "Tame" and "Wild" versions of what creatures?

Answer: Bears

Elgar's two "Wand of Youth" suites, published when he was in his fifties, were based on music he composed at the age of eleven for a play performed by himself and his brothers and sisters. "Wild Bears" is the last movement of the second suite, and contrasts with the preceding movement, "The Tame Bear".
6. "And God Created Great Whales", a composition for orchestra and pre-recorded whale sounds, was written by which prolific American composer, who also published 67 numbered symphonies?

Answer: Alan Hovhaness

Hovhaness was born in 1911 and died in 2000. "And God Created Great Whales" is one of his best-known works, and was first performed in 1970.

Those with an interest in orchestral music about whales may also be aware of the 1966 dramatic cantata "The Whale", an early work by John Tavener, which was first performed at a Royal Albert Hall Proms concert in 1969.
7. The American composer Leroy Anderson composed a piece about a dancing animal, entitled "The Waltzing..." what?

Answer: Cat

Leroy Anderson (1908-1975) was famous for his light music miniatures, including "Sleigh Ride, "The Typewriter" and "The Syncopated Clock". "The Waltzing Cat" is an attractive light waltz, which includes an amusing mimicking of a cat's meowing by the strings.
8. The most famous operetta by Johann Strauss II is probably "Die Fledermaus". Its title refers to the German name for a flying creature, known in English as what?

Answer: Bat

Even those not proficient in the German language could probably hazard a guess that "Fledermaus" translates directly as "Flying Mouse". The title refers to an incident that happens before the operetta starts, in which one of the characters, Dr Falke, is ridiculed after being found drunk after a fancy-dress party, dressed as a bat.

His attempt to gain revenge on Gabriel von Eisenstein, whom he blames for leaving him in this predicament, is a theme of the opera.
9. The "Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks" is a movement from which virtuoso suite for piano by Modest Mussorgsky?

Answer: Pictures at an Exhibition

The piano suite is if anything even better known in its popular arrangement for orchestra by Ravel (1922). There are also a large number of other rarely-performed orchestral arrangements, including ones by the conductor/pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy (1982), conductor Leopold Stokowski (1939), and Proms concerts founder Sir Henry Wood (1915).

"Out of Doors" is a suite for piano by Bela Bartok; "Carnival" is by Robert Schumann, and "Gaspard de la Nuit" by Ravel.
10. Which of the following animals is not featured in Saint-SaŽns' "Carnival of the Animals"?

Answer: Giraffe

Saint-SaŽns wrote "Carnival of the Animals" in 1886, but was worried that its light-hearted and entertaining character would damage his serious reputation. For this reason, it was never published or performed in public during his lifetime (with the exception of the single movement "The Swan"), although he gave permission for it to be performed after his death. Ironically, it is now probably his best-known and most popular work.
Source: Author stedman

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