December 3rd, 2008

music

Music quiz answers, part 2

Here are the next two answers to my most recent music quiz.

Since these songs are intended to evoke mental pictures, I highly recommend setting each to play in turn and then sitting back and seeing how well the mental pictures that form in your mind line up with the intended story/pictures.

I'm also curious to hear what reactions y'all have to these songs. It's always interesting to hear how someone else interprets and responds to evocative music.

Two Russian pieces this time around. Completely unintentional, of course, but I'm sure our new LJ overlords would approve...



3. "A coven of witches calls up spirits of darkness, followed by Chernobog himself. The witches worship Chernobog and celebrate a Black Mass, followed by a Witches' Sabbath. At the height of the orgy, the bell of the little village church is heard from afar. The spirits of darkness are dispersed as day breaks.

Answer:
Modest Mussorgsky & Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Noch' na lïsoy gore (Night on Bald Mountain), 1886. (gotten by dvandom & hobbygeek)
(link)
This is probably best known for the Disney version, from Fantasia, where it blended into Schubert's Ave Maria.)



4. "The oars of Charon's boat, the movement of the water, and a chanted Dies Irae are heard across the river Styx as souls are ferried away from the land of the living."

Answer:
Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ostrov mertvykh (Isle of the Dead), 1908. (guessed by nobody)
Part 1:
(link)
Part 2:
(link)
Isle of the Dead isn't a particularly well-known piece these days, so I'm not surprised that nobody guessed it. I first came across it in college, and used it as one of the pieces of background music when I was in charge of sound for the university's production of The Shadow Box, which is about three terminally ill people in a hospice. The director had asked for something relatively calm that built to a uplifting climax, and this is what I came up with.

It's one of the longest pieces in this quiz, and because it builds so slowly, in my opinion it makes for better background music while you do something else than a piece for active listening.



Feudalism: Serf & Turf
music

Music quiz answers, part 3

Here are the next two answers to my most recent music quiz.

Since these songs are intended to evoke mental pictures, I highly recommend setting each to play in turn and then sitting back and seeing how well the mental pictures that form in your mind line up with the intended story/pictures.

I'm also curious to hear what reactions y'all have to these songs. It's always interesting to hear how someone else interprets and responds to evocative music.



5. "Death appears at midnight each Halloween. He calls up the dead from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle. His skeletons dance for him until the first break of dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year."

Answer:
Camille Saint-Saëns, Danse Macabre, 1874. (gotten by nobody)
(link)
Danse Macabre is one of those ubiquitous "spooky" pieces that most people don't know by name but have heard somewhere along the line. It was used in the near-wordless Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hush", it was used in the original Alone in the Dark videogame, and Brits may recognize it as the theme for the Jonathan Creek TV show. And it was used as the background music for the Mickey & Minnie as Hansel & Gretel short, of all things, from the late-1990's Mickey Mouse Works TV show.



6. "The human race begins to evolve from its origins towards becoming superhuman as the sun rises."

Answer:
Richard Strauss, Also Sprach Zarathustra: Einleitung (Thus spoke Zarathustra: Introduction), 1896. (guessed by hobbygeek)
(link)
Based on Friedrich Nietzsche's book of the same title (from whence came the concept of the übermensch or super-man), this piece was made famous and solidly imprinted directly into the collective consciousness by its use in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and a thousand thousand subsequent parodies and homages. (And if that wasn't enough, Neil Norman & his Cosmic Orchestra did a quasi-disco cover of it, too. That version is not up on YouTube as far as I can tell--and be very thankful for that.)

At a bit under two minutes long, this also has the distinction of being by far the shortest piece of the ten in this quiz. Technically, it is just the first of the nine sections that make up the approximately 30-minute-long Also Sprach Zarathustra and represents only the "Introduction/Zarathustra's Prologue" section of the book, but there's a clear break between this one and the others, and the other eight aren't nearly as well known as this section is, so I counted it as a song unto itself.



Feudalism: Serf & Turf