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Danse Macabre - Camille Saint-Saens

Every Halloween, Death appears at the stroke of midnight, calls forth the dead from their graves, the skeletons dance while Death plays his fiddle, a cockerel crows at dawn, and the skeletons return to their graves until next year. Or so goes the story told in Camille Saint-Saens’ ‘Danse Macabre’. 

What to listen out for… 

A Harp chimes twelve times - midnight. 

A solo Violin ‘tunes up’ with a series of tri-tones (the devil’s interval) - Death appears. 

A haunting waltz theme is introduced - the skeletons begin to rise. 

A xylophone depicts the rattling bones of the dancing dead. 

An oboe sounds the cockerel’s crow. 

Shimmering strings tell us the sun is rising - the skeletons return to their graves. 

This piece, or tone poem, is musical story telling at its best, I hope you enjoy it. Just don’t have nightmares. 

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