Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Danse Macabre

When I was little I had a Eugene Ormandy record of the Pittsburg Symphony (or was it Philadelphia?) playing the Danse Macabre by Saint-Saëns. That flute bit at the beginning always blew me away.
And it's occurred to me of late that it might be very amusing for Tyrannosaurus Mouse to play it.

Any attempt to play Mozart (specifically the Queen of the Night aria from The Magic Flute) will be met with a general uprising of Tyrannosaurus Mouse. The bass player will glare at me and it simply will not do. There is a boycott on Mozart altogether as well as specific enjoinders preventing any piece which is in the regular season at the Metropolitan Opera House which, shockingly, two members of T-mouse have or continue to, work at.

But there are two downsides to the Danse Macabre. One is that it's really freaking hard to play. That great little thing at the beginning which starts with flute and then goes to violin? The fingering is actually quite tricky. Moreso there are violin section bits toward the end that are a bit crazed and although they might be played with relative ease on a keyboard, my speed-metal guitar-playing chops just aren't up to it. Meaning, that if I were a speed-metal guitar player I could do it. But I'm not. So I can't.
The other potential downside is that once we start playing it, I mean, how long do we really want to play it? This Stokowski version is actually fairly peppy and it clocks in at 7:10.

Here's the music in .pdf format. Like a bunch of Camille's music this was apparently a piano composition first and was orchestrated later. I dunno, maybe we could chop out the center section and just play the top and bottom of it.
But first I really have to get comfortable with the fingering of that little melody...

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