Danse Macabre, Op. 40

My love affair with Danse Macabre began in elementary school. Mrs. Otten played Halloween songs on the piano and we sang from mimeographed lyric sheets.

I was introduced to parts of the melody via a song called the Halloween Song, which has stuck in my head ever since, because the refrain includes singing the letters that spell the holiday.

It sounded a lot like this YouTube. I’m certain my teacher played a copy of this very recording.

In music classes in later years we listened to the symphonic version while watching filmstrips of artistic conceptions of what the various parts of the music could represent.

Here’s a great article from CBC which includes some great background on the piece and some really enjoyable renditions including one for two pianos.

For me the piece is tied to Autumn and to All Hallow’s Evening, even though it wasn’t the intent of the composer.

Schools don’t track holidays the same way as they did, a long time ago. So for my daughter, I have work to do If I want this to stick.

Hjalmer Duenow @hjalm