5 Creepy Classics

photo: lobo235 on flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lobo235/)

It’s that time of the year when ghosts and goblins will take to the streets, trick or treating. Here are five creepy classical pieces to add some spooky spice to your All Hallows Eve.

Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
Béla Bartók

“If there is one twentieth-century score that has been raided again and again by film composers looking for modernist “phantasmagoria,” gestures or aesthetic-musical artifacts, it is the Adagio to Bartok’s Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta.” 
-Arved Mark Ashby

Most notably used by Stanley Kubrick in The Shining, this piece is sure to set the listener on edge.


Danse macbre
Camille Saint-Saëns

At the stroke of midnight, “Death” appears to play his fiddle for dead who rise from their graves to dance of death for him.


Volumina
György Ligeti

Tom Service’s blog post on the scariest pieces of classical music served as inspiration for this post and his description of Ligeti’s Voluminia can not be topped:

“Turn the lights out, turn the volume up as high as you dare, and terrify yourself, your neighbours, and quite possibly your entire town with Ligeti’s bowel-and-organ-shaking fearscape.”


Ritual Fire Dance from El Amor Brujo
Manuel de Falla

A young woman is haunted by the ghost of her dead husband. She must dance the ritual fire dance to exorcise herself of his spirit. Ghosts, exorcisms and rituals: What could be scarier.


Songe d’une nuit de sabbat” (Dreams of a Witches’ Sabbath) from Symphonie fantastique

Hector Berlioz

In the program Belioz describes the ghastly setting for ‘Songe dune nuit de sabbat’, the gruesome fifth movement:

“He sees himself at a Witches’ Sabbath surrounded by a fearful crowd of spectres, sorcerers, and monsters of every kind, united for his burial. Unearthly sounds, groans, shrieks of laughter, distant cries, to which others seem to respond.”


What spooky sonatas would you add to your list?

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