Home » Projects » Danse Macabre » Album

Track Listing:

Dukas: L Apprenti Sorcier/The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Dvorak: La Sorciere De Midi/ The Noonday Witch, Op.108, B.196
Mussorgsky: A Night On The Bare Mountain
Balakirev: Tamara
Saint-Saens: Danse Macabre, Op. 40
Ives: Three Outdoor Scenes (Excerpt)

Orchestre Symphonique De Montreal - Kent Nagano :

Danse Macabre

Kent Nagano and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal Release Danse Macabre on Decca Classics
The album includes a generous selection of much-loved classics which are a showcase for the virtuoso ensemble

This is the second recording to be released in Decca's newly revived association with the Montreal Symphony under Music Director Kent Nagano. Always a benchmark for supreme audiophile quality this relationship now bears fruit with innovative and unusual repertoire: the first release of the rare Honegger/Ibert opera L'Aiglon (the first-ever recording of the complete opera) was an immediate critical success, voted ‘Album of the Week' in The Sunday Times and ‘Recording of the Month' in Opera magazine.

This recording presents a program of rare and familiar music to celebrate Halloween including Rimsky-Korsakov's technicolor re-orchestration of Mussorgsky's Night on a Bare Mountain and Dukas's The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  The album is also filled with rarities such as Balakirev's tone poem Tamara and Charles Ives's Hallowe'en, the first of his ‘Three Outdoor Scenes' of which Central Park in the Dark is the best-known.

Modest Mussorgsky (1839–1881) had long been possessed by the notion of a work based on the Russian legend of a witches' Sabbath on St. John's Eve. Completing a tone poem on the subject in 1867, the ecstatic Mussorgsky wrote to his friend Vladimir Nikolsky, "I did not sleep at night and I finished the work dead on the eve of St. John's Day, something so seething in me that I simply didn't know what was happening to me." A Night on the Bare Mountain, heard here in Rimsky-Korsakov's 1886 re-orchestration, opens to swirling strings and the repetitive rhythm of the maniacal chatter of the witches. Mussorgsky's program culminates when "the witches' praises had brought Satan to a sufficient frenzy, he would order the Sabbath to begin, during which he would pick out the witches who caught his fancy to satisfy his wants." The toll of a matins bell hails a lyrical section in complete contrast to the beginning, as a peaceful flute solo brings the work to its close, regularly punctuated by the bell, as if to mark the passage of time.

The figure of a maleficent spirit returned from the dead dwells at the center of the Mikhail Lermontov poem that inspired Mily Balakirev's (1837–1910) tone poem Tamara, which is set in the rocky landscape of the Caucasus. Charles Ives's (1874–1954) Hallowe'en, possibly composed on April 1, 1907, is as much trick as treat. Though the composer himself admitted the piece was a bit of a "joke," complete with an operatic send-up at the end, he was nonetheless quite proud of it from a technical standpoint. In the increasingly frenetic successive entrances of the strings, each playing in its own key, Ives meant to recall "the sense and sound of a bonfire… boys and children running around, dancing, throwing on the wood." It was first performed publicly in New York in 1934, in a version for chamber orchestra, piano, and bass drum. Additional works by Dukas, Dvorák and Saint-Saëns completes the album.