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Friday, October 31

A couple of Halloween Treats

Here are two Halloween items I hope you will enjoy.
The first is the 5th movement of Belioz's "Symphonie Fantastique." You can find the entire piece on youtube if you like. This is the 10 minute finale, "The Witch's Sabbath."

Berlioz ‘s Symphonie Fantastique 5th movement

Here is a blurb about the symphony from wikipedia.

The symphony is a piece of program music which tells the story of "an artist gifted with a lively imagination" who has "poisoned himself with opium" in the "depths of despair" because of "hopeless love." Berlioz provided his own program notes for each movement of the work (see below). He prefaces his notes with the following instructions:[1]
The composer’s intention has been to develop various episodes in the life of an artist, in so far as they lend themselves to musical treatment. As the work cannot rely on the assistance of speech, the plan of the instrumental drama needs to be set out in advance. The following programme must therefore be considered as the spoken text of an opera, which serves to introduce musical movements and to motivate their character and expression.
There are five movements, instead of the four movements which were conventional for symphonies at the time:
1. Rêveries - Passions (Dreams - Passions)
2. Un bal (A ball)
3. Scène aux champs (Scene in the country)
4. Marche au supplice (March to the scaffold)
5. Songe d'une nuit de sabbat (Dream of a witches' Sabbath)

From Berlioz's program notes:[1]
He sees himself at a witches’ sabbath, in the midst of a hideous gathering of shades, sorcerers and monsters of every kind who have come together for his funeral. Strange sounds, groans, outbursts of laughter; distant shouts which seem to be answered by more shouts. The beloved melody appears once more, but has now lost its noble and shy character; it is now no more than a vulgar dance tune, trivial and grotesque: it is she who is coming to the sabbath… Roar of delight at her arrival… She joins the diabolical orgy… The funeral knell tolls, burlesque parody of the Dies irae, the dance of the witches. The dance of the witches combined with the Dies irae.


The second part is Ray Bradbury's animated movie"The Halloween Tree." Someone posted the video in 8 parts. It's about an hour long and tells the story of Halloween from a youngster's standpoint. Narrated by Ray Bradbury and uses the voice of Leonard Nimoy as Moundshroud the story teller, it's entertaining and informative. Your kid's may even enjoy it.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury








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