In 2019, the Roeland Hendrikx Ensemble commissioned Swerts to write a piece for them. For him, the animal farms of Saint-Saëns's Carnaval des Animaux and Apollinaire Le Bestiaire are so intertwined that he immediately thought of a "full-length concept" that integrates the two works. In his arrangement of Le Carnaval for sextet, he was able to blend his own orchestration (without harming Saint-Saëns's intentions) in order to emerge this delectably humorous work into his own setting of Le Bestiaire. In the end of this process, he selected only a limited number (22) of the 30 original poems written by Apollinaire, and provided the sequence with an Overture and a Finale to enhance its kinship with Le Carnaval. Stylistically, the whole has now become a kind of suite in which Le Bestiaire is the logical sequel to Le Carnaval.
The work has been recorded by the RH Ensemble and is released by Antarctica Records. 2020 AR 022 Performers are: Roeland Hendrikx, clarinet and bassclarinet, Liebrecht Vanbeckevoort, piano, Nicolas Dupont, violin, Camille Joubert, violin, Sander Geerts, viola, Sevak Avanesyan, cello.
The CD contains Swerts' new arrangement of Carnaval and 16 numbers of Bestiaire.
In celebration of this project, Steven Maes and Stefan Grondelaers shot a television documentary about sweet Saint-Saëns and naughty Apollinaire, and about fusing their zoos into one glorious Animal Farm. The documentary tracks the genesis of the project from inspiration and preparation to performance and première.
The CD receives extreme enthousiast reviews: Stretto Magazine.
The full study score of 207 pages is separately purchasable in print or in digital format.