Saint-Saens: Carnival Of The Animals [plus 'Grandpa Christmas']

Saint-Saens: Carnival Of The Animals [plus 'Grandpa Christmas'] cover
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Saint-Saens: Carnival Of The Animals [plus 'Grandpa Christmas']
The Kanneh-Masons with Michael Morpurgo and Olivia Colman

[ Decca / CD ]

Release Date: Friday 13 November 2020

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Carnival is a very special collaboration between Academy Award-winning actor Olivia Colman, children's author Michael Morpurgo and the seven "extraordinarily talented" (Classic FM) Kanneh-Mason siblings: Isata, Braimah, Sheku, Konya, Jeneba, Aminata and Mariatu.

Recorded at London's Abbey Road Studios, the release includes new poems written by War Horse author Morpurgo to accompany French composer Saint-Saëns' beloved musical suite 'Carnival of the Animals'. The poems are read by the author himself, joined by The Favourite actor Colman, and guest musicians complete the ensemble for the suite.

On working with the Kanneh-Masons, Morpurgo says, "These young people are remarkable, not because they are young, not because they are the seven siblings from one family, but simply because they make magnificent music together, and it is evident they love doing it. Hear them and you know it. See them and you know it."

Along with Colman's readings interposing the humorous suite 'Carnival of the Animals', which represents different animals through descriptive musical motifs, the recording features Morpurgo's heart-warming Grandpa Christmas story, set to music for the first time with classic tracks including 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy', 'Flight of the Bumblebee' and 'Sea Murmurs'.

Morpurgo reads the role of Grandpa, with the youngest Kanneh-Mason, Mariatu, reading his granddaughter. The album includes a new arrangement of Eric Whitacre's 'The Seal Lullaby' featuring all seven siblings, aged between 11-24. It is also the debut recording for youngest sisters Konya, Jeneba, Aminata and Mariatu.

Also featuring on the album is the Kanneh-Masons' own arrangement of Bob Marley's iconic hit 'Redemption Song', marking 40 years since its release in 1980 - fewer than five years before the singer's death.

The stunning artwork for Carnival has been specially commissioned from children's illustrator Emma Chichester Clark, who has created a colourful storybook world featuring vibrant birds, friendly kangaroos, curious elephants and all seven of the Kanneh-Mason siblings - depicted, of course, with their instruments.


Saint-Saëns: Le carnaval des animaux
Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello), Isata Kanneh-Mason (piano)

Written by Michael Morpurgo
Narrated by the author with Mariatu Kanneh-Mason and illustrated in music
1. Tchaikovsky: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from Nutcracker
Suite (Konya & Jeneba - piano duo)
Two Bartok duos from 44 Duos arr. two cellos:
2. Maypole Dance (Sheku & Mariatu - cello duo)
3. Mosquito Dance (Sheku & Aminata - cello duo)
4. Grieg Lyric Pieces: 'Little Bird' (Konya - solo piano)
5. Rimsky-Korsakov arr. Rachmaninov: Flight of the Bumble Bee
(Isata - solo piano)
6. Castelnuovo -Tedesco arr. Heifetz: 'Sea Murmurs' (Braimah &
Jeneba - violin & piano)
7. Maypole Dance (reprise)
8. Eric Whitacre arr. Parkin: 'The Seal Lullaby' (all seven children)


Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals - Aquarium