Oh we are so close to Halloween now my friends…
This is our second spookiest playlist because the last one (drops midnight of Halloween-eve) is basically nails on a chalkboard, so this is the last stop for discernable melody and joy. Like, evil mad scientist joy though.
Full Spotify and Youtube playlist links at the bottom
1. Psycho Prelude – B. Herrmann
2. Seid nuchtern und wachet… (Faust Cantata): VII. Es geschah – A. Schnittke
That night at midnight a great wind blew up
As if it wanted to destroy Faust’s home and obliterate everything.
Upstairs the desperate students leapt out of their beds
They heard dreadful noises as if the house were full of snakes and other terrible worms
Faustus cried, “Help!” and “Murder!” but soon his voice died away.
When it was light the students went into his room:
The room was spattered in blood
His brain clung to the wall
The devil had thrown him all about
Eyes and teeth were scattered around
It was a gruesome and grisly sight!
They found his body on a dunghill
It was still twitching.
3. Peer Gynt “In the Hall of the Mountain King” – E.Grieg
Apparently, Grieg felt his original arrangement was “full of cow-turds and Norse-Norsehood” which is the greatest self-burn I’ve ever heard. All respect sir, but this is bangin’. Especially when you get these great versions that keep the original choir part in.
Slay him! The Christian man’s son has seduced
the fairest maid of the Mountain King!
Slay him! Slay him!
4. The Medium Act II. “Mother, mother are you there?” – G. Menotti
Don’t get drunk and/or host fake seances or real ghosts will come and HAUNT YOU. #Lessonsfromopera
5. Lorca Suite: II. El Grito (The Scream) – E. Rautavaara
The arc of a cry
curves from hill
From the olive trees,
a black rainbow
over the blue night.
Like a viola’s bow,
the cry has made the long
strings of the wind vibrate.
(The people of the caves
put their oil lamps out.)
6. Ostrov myortvikh (The Isle of the Dead)– S. Rachmaninoff
7. A Dante Symphony: I. Inferno – F. Liszt
SOME people think Liszt is a bad composer because he is so gratuitously unsubtle but really, isn’t that exactly why we love him? HELLFIRE AND DAMNATION! ABANDON HOPE ALL YE THAT ENTER HERE (actually, that’s the second movement but go ahead and listen to the whole thing here!)
8. Songs, Drones and Refrains of Death: Death Drone II. –G. Crumb
9. The Dream of Gerontius – E. Elgar
Demons/Fallen angels expressing their disgust at getting kicked out of heaven. This whole work is very cool.
10. Dybbuk: Part III. XVI. Exorcism – L. Bernstein
The Dybbuk is a “malicious possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person” in Jewish folklore. This ballet by Bernstein was based off Yiddish playwright S. Ansky’s play The Dybbuk and it’s a creeptastic story.
11. Mefistofele, “Ah! su! Riddiamo riddamo” – A. Boito
WITCHES’ SABBATH! SO MANY WITCHES’ SABBATHS IN CLASSICAL MUSIC. GIMME ALL OF ‘EM. Boito writes the best chorus music for opera though guys… Definitely NSFW but amazing version here!
12. Wozzeck “Ringel, ringel rösenkranz” – A. Berg
The titular Wozzeck has murdered his wife and stumbled into the pond to wash off the blood before drowning himself. In this final scene, their child is riding a hobby horse in the town square when kids come out shouting “Hey you! Your mom’s dead” to which he only responds “hop hop!” and keeps hobby horsing… It’s a very weird and uncomfortable ending to a very weird and uncomfortable opera.
13. Frankenstein! VIIIc. Monsters in the Park – H.K. Gruber
H.K. Gruber is a strange and wondrous gem of classical music.
14.Piano Concerto no 1: IV. Toccata Concertata – A. Ginastera
Unlike a lot of works on this page, this one isn’t explicitly about death and spooks but pretty much all the critics seem to agree it creeps them out.
15. Symphonie Fantastique: V. Songe d’une nuit du Sabbat (Dream of Sabbath night) – H. Berlioz
Because when you need Halloween music, why should it be a surprise that one of the most popular works comes from a guy who stalked a woman for years (like…buying an apartment across the street so he could watch her sleep), wrote this drug-addled piece about murdering the woman you love, somehow convinced her to marry him and then divorced her.
In a completely separate incident, he’s also the kind of guy who found out his fiancé was going to marry someone else (smart lady), planned to murder them both and also her mom, bought a disguise, stole pistols and also two different kinds of poison JUST IN CASE, traveled to the town where they lived…and then was like “nah nevermind” and wrote it all down in his memoirs for her to read later.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN Y’ALL. FINAL AND MOST DISTURBING PLAYLIST DROPS THE SECOND THE CLOCK STRIKES MIDNIGHT ON HALLOWEEN (Central time, deal with it)
Youtubers, tragically your playlist does not include the selection from the Medium 🙁 To make up for it, you have an arrangement of the Rautavaara I like more AND an extra long Elgar)