Monday, October 17, 2011

Halloween Mood Music

I love spooky classical music, and I love music that tells a story. As Halloween approaches, I thought I'd share some of my favorite mood music.

1) "Infernal Dance" by Stravinski from The Firebird.

I've never seen the ballet, but would love to someday.

2) "Danse Macbre" Saint-Saens - The "Danse Macabre" or Dance of death was a motif in art that was really popular in Europe during periods of the Black Plague. The idea was that, when Death calls you to dance, you have to go; young or old, rich or poor, we are all equal in death.

These illustrations were dome for a PBS special in the 1980s. The music is haunting and wonderful.

3) "Mars, Bringer of War" by Holzt - Not spooky so much as ominous; I've often wondered if this was a partial inspiration for Darth Vader's theme (Imperial March),

4) In the Hall of the Mountain King - Edvard Greig. For sheer musical fun you can't beat being trapped underground with a bunch of trolls, and if the troll king's daughter wants to marry you . . . run!

I love the way this music becomes wilder and crazier by the moment as Per Gynt runs from the trolls.

5) Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorsgy (I'm probably spelling that wrong). This is the version from Walt Disney's Fantasia. The devil figure is technically Chernibog, a pre-Christian Russian god of darkness, rather than Satan, as he's introduced in the movie. Still, the image means pretty much the same thing either way. I love the drama in this from the rising of the giant devil to the way it recoils from the sound of the church bells.

By the way, the actor that Disney got to model the actions of the giant devil was Bela Lugosi.

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