Dearest readers, All Hallow’s Eve will soon be upon us. In Cambridge the leaves are turning red and orange, the pumpkins are in the shops, and talk of Christmas is still just about being staved off by Halloween. Here at MusiCB3 we have been bravely searching the darkest and scariest corners of the music collections to bring to you today’s post. Read on if you dare, for a glimpse of our spookiest music…
The Witches’ Own Galop / J. P. Clarke
The illustration on the front of this piece is a lithograph by Jules Chéret of ‘witches on broomsticks flying over moonlit marshland’. Although the piece is for piano, there are occasional directions in the music such as ‘Bring round the brooms….mount and ride off!’ Perhaps for the pianist to exclaim as they play…
The Phantom Coach and Four / Giles Scroggins
This song (‘Sung with Immense Success by Mr. Jolly Nash’) describes a ghostly coach and four which frequents Hyde Park at midnight. The singer supposes the occupant of the phantom coach to be Roger Tichborne, who was at the centre of a famous court case in the 1870s.
The Ghost of Benjamin Binns / Harry Dacre
‘Sung with Supernatural Success by Harry Randall‘. This is the story of a friendly ghost, who, as a way of trying to forget his false-hearted wife, spends his time keeping Victorian spiritualists happy – “I rap at the tables and kick up such scenes ; I ring clanging bells and I bang tambourines.”
For those in operatic mood, there is plenty of Halloween-worthy entertainment available to borrow from the Pendlebury. Try Hänsel und Gretel (DVD.C.250), Don Giovanni (DVD.C.460), Médée (DVD.C.333), or Salome (DVD.C.466). Or if you fancy a sing-song, what could be scarier then Schubert’s Erlkönig (sheet music at 867.C.S8)?
Happy Halloween to all our readers!
Yours spookily, MusiCB3