More Halloween Music :: Tartini's "Devil's Trill" Sonata in G Minor

For some reason there are many depictions of the devil playing a violin. I’m not sure where this came from, but it has existed for centuries. One of the earliest pieces of music I can find that represents the devil playing a violin is Tartini’s Violin Sonata in G Minor, “The Devil’s Trill.” The inspiriation supposedly came from a dream where the composer made a deal with the devil.

Here is Tartini’s description of his dream.

One night, in the year 1713 I dreamed I had made a pact with the devil for my soul. Everything went as I wished: my new servant anticipated my every desire. Among other things, I gave him my violin to see if he could play. How great was my astonishment on hearing a sonata so wonderful and so beautiful, played with such great art and intelligence, as I had never even conceived in my boldest flights of fantasy. I felt enraptured, transported, enchanted: my breath failed me, and I awoke. I immediately grasped my violin in order to retain, in part at least, the impression of my dream. In vain! The music which I at this time composed is indeed the best that I ever wrote, and I still call it the "Devil's Trill", but the difference between it and that which so moved me is so great that I would have destroyed my instrument and have said farewell to music forever if it had been possible for me to live without the enjoyment it affords me.

Enjoy this beautiful masterpiece as Halloween approaches.

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Classical Music For Halloween: Night On Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky

Classical Music For Halloween: Night On Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky

Night on Bald Mountain my Mussorgsky is my favorite Classical Music work for Halloween but did you know that there are three versions to this composition? Read on to enjoy this great classical work and learn about its interesting history.

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Classical Music For Halloween: The Masque of the Red Death by Andre Caplet

Good music frequently intersects with other art forms. For instance, it's no accident that we have impressionist music and painting. The philosophies that drove the artist to paint scenes with vivid, blurred colors drove the composers to write vivid, colorful sounding scenes rather than tell stories with rigid form. 

French composer and musician André Caplet decided to compose a work that intersect with the world of American Literature. In 1908 he decided to compose a musical vignette to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death". Poe's works are often associated with Halloween because of their dark subject matter and suspenseful twists. 

You may not have heard of French composer André Caplet before. He won the important Prix De Rome in 1901, beating well known French composer Maurice Ravel. He is also known for his orchestrations of Debussy's works.  Sadly he died of pleurisy resulting from the chemical warfare of World War I. 

The Masque of the Red Death was written in 1908, which was a monumental year in music history. This is the year Arnold Schoenberg wrote his first atonal piece and forever changed the course of western music. Caplet's work is tonal, but still holds many of the qualities of composers in the first decade of the 20th century. Find a copy of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death,"  read it (here's a cheap digital copy on Amazon), and enjoy this masterpiece of the early 20th century.

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Be sure to check out the previous post on Halloween music and explore our composition classes as they offer kids a great way to make music while learning skills like note reading and theory effortlessly.