What thoughts come to mind when you think of Halloween? Some possibilities include trick-or-treaters, jack-o-lanterns, candy and haunted houses. Classical music is not likely to make it to the top of this list. Halloween is right around the corner, and surprisingly, few musical genres capture the mood of All Hallow’s Eve than the Classical era did. There is something notably spooky about compositions performed in minor keys. Whether your are throwing a Halloween party, trying to spook some trick-or-treaters or just trying to set the mood for Halloween, the following compositions are sure to do the trick.
Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor”
Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” for the organ is a highly recognizable tune and has a supremely haunted quality. With the rise and fall of each segment, you are drawn into this complex, intricate and wonderfully choreographed composition. This is one composition that flaunts the eerie tone that the key of D Minor can present.
Saint Saens’ “Danse Macabre”
Charles Camille Saint-Saens’ “Danse Macabre” starts off with high energy and jubilant tones, sounding like many other waltzes of the time. Don’t get too comfortable though, the dance undergoes a drastic transformation and the macabre is infused into the composition. Roughly two minutes into the song, the tone deepens. Be prepared to be catapulted into a beautiful, eerie and powerful work of art.
Mussorgsky’s Night On Bald Mountain
Another composition that inspires fears in the most stout hearts is Mussorgorsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain.” This composition is powerful, thought provoking and stirring. The intricate weaving of tones make this composition a stand out piece.
Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude Op. 3, No. 2 In C Sharp Minor”
There are few composers who can achieve the level of genius that Rachmaninoff’s compositions exude. Rachmaninoff’s work is notoriously powerful, dark and haunting. One such composition is Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude Op.3, No. 2 in C Sharp Minor.” Deeply haunting, disturbing and reflective, “Prelude Op.3, No. 2 in C Sharp Minor” is an amazing example of Rachmaninoff’s work.
Bartok’s “Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta”
Of all the pieces listed here, Bartok’s “Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta” is perhaps the most eerie. Bartok builds a tone of suspense and mystery in this piece and it certainly grabs hold of the listener, if given the opportunity. Around the two minute mark, there is a notable change in the tone of the song as the eerie quality gives way to full fledged haunting. A brilliantly composed piece.