Hallows 2014, Day 7: Dance Macabre

Danse Macabre
Camille Saint-Saëns

So the term “danse macabre” goes way, way back. In the medieval tradition, personified Death summoned everybody to the party, from all walks of life, to head over to graves. It’s like when Hamlet asks Horatio at the gravediggers plot if Alexander the Great also looked like these discarded skulls, and they affirm, “Even so.” Here’s a 1493 depiction below.



In this musical depiction by Saint-Saëns, Death is represented by the solo violin. The clock chimes twelve times for midnight, and the dance begins. Then, when the cock crows and morning comes, you can hear them all scatter at the end. I have memories of my mom playing this in orchestra and pointing out all of the narrative parts.

Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!


One thought on “Hallows 2014, Day 7: Dance Macabre”

  1. Love this piece! This was the first authentic orchestra piece (not an educational arrangement) I ever played. It was my first year at music camp when I was 12. My friend and I practiced like crazy to learn the second violin part:)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s