Related works: Camille Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals
I. The Giraffe
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.