It’s that time of year again: the sun is slipping into twilight more rapidly every day, evenings are getting chillier, and the forests are shedding their leaves before we head into the slumber of winter. The deep darkness of October, of course, concludes with the eeriest celebration of the year: Halloween. Whether you’re a horror film fanatic or prefer to just take in the rich colors and crisp air of the season, there is something to enjoy this time of year – and we have just the music for you.
Hold onto your heads, I mean, hats, in Sleepy Hollow Suite by composer John Alan Rose, on the latest release by Connecticut Composers, Inc., SPECTRA VOL. 2. Inspired by the story of Ichabod Crane and his tangles with the Headless Horseman, Rose’s suite retells the story in a musical narrative. His piano performance follows the story from the party where the legend of the otherworldly equestrian is told, all the way to Rose’s own plot twist where Ichabod is transformed into the next Horseman. Sleepy Hollow Suite uses the repetition of a theme from the first movement to indicate the transformation that Ichabod goes through, from his humble beginnings to his end as a nightmarish creature.
If you want your share of dark and brooding pianism inspired by the story of an obsessive quest for greatness, look no further than BLACK SWAN OF PIANO performed by Serbian pianist extraordinaire Marta Brankovich. Her rendition of Lux Aeterna from Requiem for a Dream by Clint Mansell evokes both the emotions of the piece as well as the intensity of the Black Swan story. The result is a performance that is unsettling, melancholic, and utterly spellbinding.
Bill Whitley’s Absent Light off of MIND & MACHINE VOL. 2 takes a step into the local church to catch the end of a funeral, as the casket is being shrouded in a cloud of incense. The composition was begun on All Saints Day of 2004 – All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, being the Christian celebration on November 1, the day after All Hallows Eve. According to Whitley, the loop that makes up Absent Light came to him as he witnessed a scene while driving. “Fog was coming in off of the river. I saw those little dots that you see when engulfed in fog and I remembered Matthew Fox and Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of other-worldly presences explained as light particles in The Physics of Angels.”
These are just a few of the curious compositions we are listening to this autumn, alongside a retelling of the H.P. Lovecraft horror story by composer Mike Evans, a zombie apocalypse with Nicholas Vines, machines coming to consciousness with Sarah Wallin Huff, and much more. Intrigued? Check out the rest of our Classically Halloween playlist – if you dare.