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Musical Goosebumps for Halloween!

October 31st will soon be here, which makes me think of my two favorite spooky pieces of music.

The first is somewhat kid friendly: In Der Halle des Bergkonigs from the Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg.

The Peer Gynt Suite is incidental music (not a ballet, not an opera, not a musical) which is the background music to a play by Ibsen. Peer is a young man who wants to go on adventures, but has no money. So he sneaks into the Hall of the Mountain King (a troll) to steal his pot of gold. As he tiptoes through the Hall among the sleeping trolls, searching for the gold, the trolls eventually give chase. The music gets more intense and faster as Peer races from the very angry trolls. He does escape with the gold and goes on his adventures!

The second is too scary for kids, and maybe even some adults.

Of course, you have to be able to understand some German, but I will explain the story to

Franz Schubert's Der ErlKonig, The Elfking is a Lied based on a disturbing poem by Goethe.

A father is riding home on a dark night holding his young son in his arms.In the forest, the Elfking calls to the young boy to come to him. The frightened boy tells his father he hears The Elfking calling to him, but the father says it is the wind or the mist, and keeps riding. Spoiler alert, the ending is very sad!

This is a brilliant piece by Schubert where there are 4 characters portrayed with just a pianist and a male soloist.

The piano is the horse, and provides the basic drama. By using 3 different ranges in the solo male voice, the frightened child, the cunning Elfking and the worried Father are all portrayed in such a way that I always get goosebumps.

There are many recordings of Der Erlkonig, but this one also includes a translation and an interesting visual representation of the events unfolding.

Enjoy might be the wrong word, but for sure Don't Listen Alone! ! ! ! ! ! !


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