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The Peacock in the Zoo

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Cover picture by Robert Arnold.

The early 1960s were a golden period for Malcolm Arnold. He was at his height as a composer for the concert hall and for the silver screen. As part of family life at this time, his daughter Katherine remembers visits with her father to London Zoo and Whipsnade, and it was as a result of one of these that she wrote a poem, The Peacock in the Zoo.
Perhaps Katherine subconsciously had thoughts of her father as the peacock: a great public attraction, but sometimes a little wilful:

Everyone goes to see the peacock.
They wait for him to fan out his tail,
As he wanders looking for food,
Dull and drab behind the fence.
To annoy the crowds standing by,
He drags his tail feathers
And will not deign to reveal their latent splendour.
However, seeing the need to entertain, the peacock puts on his usual splendid show:
The crowd feels bored and disappears.
The peacock advances and fans out his tail,
Flaunting it, swaying his whispering feathers,
He struts with his head held high
Around his pen, until the crowd reappear again…

Malcolm seized upon it delightedly and, in 1963, set it to music as a lilting song for piano and unison voices.

Samples available

MP3 Audio File

Cat No. QT78
Price £4.95
ComposerSir Malcolm Arnold
ArtistRobert Arnold
AuthorKatherine Arnold
CategoryVoice & Piano
PublisherQueen's Temple Publications
ISMN 979-0-708015-78-9
EAN-13 9790708015789
Weight 44 grams
Published 7th January 2005
Availability 300 in stock