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Halloween Classical Music Favorites of All Time

Published by Jeanmarie Tushoski

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Haunting Classical Favorites for the Ghoul in You

Whether you are setting up the mood for Halloween with freaky classical music or just want to scare your neighbors and friends with a fiendish set of classical compositions, you must include the following dastardly ghastly classical compositions:

Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky
Made popular in the United States by its inclusion in Walt Disney’s original movie Fantasia, Night on Bald Mountain recalls a night of spirits and evil mayhem with dizzying strained rhythms in the strings, a feeling of constant motion, and a booming brass line that wakes up Beelzebub himself. Composed by Modest Mussorgsky (only one of many spellings) in the 19th century, Night on Bald Mountain continues to scare even the most stoic of music enthusiasts a century after its first performance.

In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg
Grieg composed In the Hall of the Mountain King as part of the Peer Gynt Suite. Although not as well known as Night on Bald Mountain, this work has its own horrific, and slightly cartoonish, charm.

Psycho by Bernard Hermann
Hermann’s masterpiece, the shower scene from Psycho, continues to influence contemporary film composers. The screeching strings that accompany the bloody and infamous shower scene from the movie Psycho are constantly quoted in the music of other horror film composers. Enjoy scaring your friends, and yourself, by listening to the imposing strings alone, in the shower. Try not to get stabbed to death!

Ride of the Valkries by Richard Wagner
For those that do not know, the Ride of the Valkries refers to the musical Norse warrior women of mythic fame. Wagner’s large scale work, Des Ring des Nibelungen, included these mistresses of mayhem. You can almost hear them flying into the halls of Valhalla with the dead souls of their victims.

Toccata and Fuguein D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach
Bach’s compositional and performing finesse are greatly exemplified in the Halloween eerie organ favorite Toccata and Fugue, which has been quoted repeatedly in popular culture horror films and music.

The Banshee by Henry Cowell
This unique piano solo, created by controversial American composer Henry Cowell, truly sounds like a horrific banshee ready to rip into any unsuspecting soul foolish enough to cross her path. The insane screeching and moaning sounds created in the composition involve the pianist playing various complicated strumming and plucking techniques on the actual piano strings.

Anoixe Petra by Diamanda Galas
The Greek-American composer Diamanda Galas’s imposing piano performance and equally scary vocal style truly transcends horror with its musical twisting and psychological bending. One listen to the talented diva’s very unique vocal style and you will be certain to shake from the very core of your soul.



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