Friday, July 23, 2010

A concert for elephants: 1798

No sooner were the first sounds heard than Hans and Peggy, lending an ear, left off eating; they soon ran towards the place from whence the sounds proceeded. The opening over their heads, the instruments of a strange form, of which they only perceived the extremities, the men floating as it were in the air, the invisible harmony, for which they attempted to feel, with their trunks, the silence of the spectators, the immovable attitude of their carnac [handler], all at first appeared to them subjects of curiosity, wonder and apprehension.

They went round the trap-door, directing their trunks towards the opening, rising from time to time on their hind legs; approached their cornac, sought his caresses, returned with more uneasiness, gazed at the assistants, and seemed to examine whether there was not a snare laid for them. But those first emotions of fear were soon appeased, when they found every thing remained peaceable round them: then giving way without any mixture of dread to the impulse of sound, they seemed to feel no other sensations but what proceeded from the music.
--From La Belle assemblée--

Here are some examples of the music that was played for them:





3 comments:

El Pollo Real said...

Oh sweet Jebus. First Theo Boehm now you...


Arrghhhhhhh!

Jennifer said...

What a lovely scene. I've had elephants on the brain for days and now I have this to love.

jaltcoh said...

That Gluck overture's pretty good -- I added it to my eMusic list.