So, I was tied up writing the Cat Christmas story for this year, and had a concert to assist with, and Day Job work. This week is…Odd, even by my standards, and that’s just taking into account the Knowns and the Known-Unknowns. [h/t Sec. Rumsfeld]
The spooky, Satanic, and scary have fascinated musicians for quite a while. Some of the compositions are better known than others, and some have become seasonal icons. One of those is:
In a way Saint-Saens was nodding to the Baroque composer C. W. Gluck. The “Dance of the Furies” from “Orpheus and Euridice” is not as creepy, but just as frenetic, a bit like “Hall of the Mountain King.” (Which is an interesting music-history story in itself.)
Berlioz wanted the score of “Dance of the Shades” destroyed, but it was, ahem, resurrected. It is not an easy piece to sing, and it describes the midnight revels of the dead, the Toten Tanz that makes all men equals, prince and pauper, merchant and beggar.
And of course, Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” which is really about Walpurgisnacht. The figure in Disney’s interpretation is based on the Russian swamp god Chernobog. Yes, the Chernobog who appears in the Alexi stories. He is not a nice creature. This is one of those cartoons that the more I watch, the more I realize that it is not really for children, and that there is far, far more detail in it than you think at first glance. [For the Alexi omnibus, click here.]