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Malcolm Arnold

Publisher: Novello & Co

Carnival of the Animals (1960)
Novello and Co. Ltd. (Third Party)
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
15 Minutes
Programme Note
Malcolm Arnold Carnival of the Animals (1960)
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.

  • Ensemble
    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / BBC Concert Orchestra / London Philharmonic Orchestra / London Musici / Grimethorpe Colliery Band / Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
    Benjamin Frith, piano
    Vernon Handley / Sir Adrian Boult / Mark Stephenson / Sir Malcolm Arnold / Elgar Howarth
    Conifer Records Limited:
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