This week’s listening assignment is featuring two pieces about donkeys. The first is written by Jacques Ibert (1890-1962) a French composer, and is titled, The Little White Donkey. As you listen, see if you can figure out what makes this piece sound like a little donkey walking along a road. Which hand represents the donkey in the beginning of the piece? In the middle section the mood changes. What do you think the composer is trying to describe? Is the donkey maybe not wanting to go any further? Or perhaps he is hurrying along even faster to get home? At the very end listen for the donkey’s “hee-haw!”
The second piece is written for orchestra and is part of a larger work called The Grand Canyon Suite, written by Ferdinand Grofe. Grofe was an American composer, arranger and pianist who lived from 1892-1972. He is known for his jazz arrangements particularly of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and also for this piece, The Grand Canyon Suite. He also wrote music for some of the early films produced in the 1950’s. The segment in this assignment is called On the Trail. Which instrument is the voice of the donkey in the beginning of this piece? What instrument takes over after the violin to represent the walking of the donkeys? What is the interval of the hee-haw? There is a place near the end where the music goes much faster. There is a special italian word used to describe this affect If you don’t know the word, see if you can search it out. You might enjoy listening to the rest of this wonderfully descriptive composition. The part called Cloudburst is especially exciting!