• Malcolm Arnold
  • Carnival of the Animals (1960)

  • Novello and Co. Ltd. (Third Party) (World)
  • 2+pic.2.2.2/432(btbn)1/timp.3perc/str(7.6.5.4.3)
  • 15 min

Programme Note

I. The Giraffe
II. Sheep
III. Cows
IV. Mice
V. Jumbo
VI. Chiroptera (Bats)

Arnold’s Carnival of the Animals was written for the Hoffnung Memorial Concert and first performed by the Morley College Orchestra conducted by the composer at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on 31 October 1960.

The piece is a supplement to Saint-Saëns’s original work of the same name and portrays six zoological species which failed to make it into the Ark first time around. The giraffe manages to be simultaneously awkward and graceful, the music all neck and spindly legs; the sheep behave just like sheep always do, and follow one another around rather aimlessly; cows moo lazily; mice squeak prettily in the highest register of the orchestra; Jumbo naughtily borrows a tune from Delibes’s Sylvia and gives it to the elephantine brass; while for the Chiroptera, the orchestra plays with tremendous energy, and (appropriately enough for the bat family) totally inaudibly until the ‘closing’ C on a tubular bell.

Listen

Carnival of Animals, Op.72: 1. The Giraffe
Carnival of Animals, Op.72: 2. Sheep
Carnival of Animals, Op.72: 3. Cows
Carnival of Animals, Op.72: 4. Mice
Carnival of Animals, Op.72: 5. Jumbo
Carnival of Animals, Op.72: 6. Chiroptera (Bats)

Discography