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BBC Proms: Carnival of the Animals with the Kanneh-Masons

Few pieces of music are so instantly recognisable as Saint-Saens's Carnival of the Animals, written quickly in February 1886. Interestingly, the composer, on the back of a disastrous German tour, forbade public performances of it out of fear that it would damage his reputation as a 'serious' composer. Posterity would judge the Carnival differently, however, as it is now enjoyed as one of Saint-Saens's most popular and frequently performed compositions. With its brilliant humour and whimsical character, it is little wonder why. The Carnival demonstrates Saint-Saens's signature style in a suite of animal sketches: the roaring of lions, the clucking of hens, the hopping of kangaroos, and the iconic 'Swan', now a staple of the cello repertoire. In this performance from the 2021 BBC Family Prom, the renowned Kanneh-Mason siblings bring this beloved zoological showpiece to the Royal Albert Hall stage, as Saint-Saens's music is intertwined with poems by children's author Sir Michael Murporgo.

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