12 Favorite Halloween Classical Pieces

Halloween Image

Halloween is here! And if you’re looking for spooky, creepy, or monstrous music for your playlist, you’re in luck. Check out our 12 favorite Halloween classical music pieces below.

1. Saint-Saëns – Danse Macabre

With a title that includes the word “macabre”, you can tell it’s a great piece for Halloween. This is by far the most famous work associated with the holiday, and with good reason. It is a tone poem inspired by a French legend that says “Death” appears at midnight on Halloween to call forth the dead from their graves to dance for him. He plays the fiddle while skeletons dance until dawn.

2. Dvořák – The Water Goblin

The Water Goblin is a symphonic poem that tells a horrific story of a mischievous goblin who traps drowning souls in upturned teacups. It begins by depicting the water goblin sitting by a lake sewing a green coat and red boots for his wedding. Then a mother is telling her daughter a dream she had about her daughter in white robes swirling in foaming water. Fearing it was a foreshadow of danger, she warns her daughter not to go to the lake. Of course, the daughter is drawn to the lake despite the warnings. The bridge she sits on collapses and, as she falls into the water, the goblin abducts her. He takes her to his underwater castle and marries her. They have a child together and she begs the goblin to allow her to visit her mother. He agrees on 3 conditions: that she not embrace anyone, that she leaves the baby behind, and that she returns by the bells of the evening vespers. She visits her mother who forbids her to return when the bells ring. The water goblin becomes enraged and goes to the mother’s home and bangs on the door. When he is refused, he kills the child.

3. Mussorgsky – Night on Bald Mountain

Another famous piece commonly associated with Halloween, Night on Bald Mountain paints a musical picture of a witch’s sabbath occurring on St. John’s Eve. Interestingly, the original piece composed by Mussorgsky is not the version you typically hear. That was only published in 1968 and is performed very rarely. The piece we have come to know (and hear in places like Walt Disney’s Fantasia is an arrangement by Rimsky-Korsakov.

4. Berlioz – “Dream of the Night of the Sabbath” from Symphonie Fantastique

Often referred to as the “Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath”, it is the 5th movement of Berlioz’s grand Symphonie Fantastique. Each movement of the symphony depicts an episode in the protagonist’s life (an artist who poisoned himself with opium out of unrequited love). The program notes in the original score for the 5th movement are as follows:

He sees himself at a witches’ sabbath, in the midst of a hideous gathering of shades, sorcerers and monsters of every kind who have come together for his funeral. Strange sounds, groans, outbursts of laughter; distant shouts which seem to be answered by more shouts. The beloved melody appears once more, but has now lost its noble and shy character; it is now no more than a vulgar dance tune, trivial and grotesque: it is she who is coming to the sabbath … Roar of delight at her arrival … She joins the diabolical orgy … The funeral knell tolls, burlesque parody of the Dies irae, the dance of the witches. The dance of the witches combined with the Dies irae.

5. Ryan Smith – The Night Creeps Slowly

Ryan Smith may not be a name you know, but he is composer from Parker, Colorado who wrote a very Halloween-appropriate piece that the Parker Symphony played for its world premiere. A Chaparral High School graduate in 2008, he has written, recorded, and produced under the name M.I.X.

6. Chopin – “Funeral March” from his Piano Sonata No. 2

What Halloween music list would be complete without the famous Funeral March from Chopin. Although many may not know it, it is actually the 3rd movement in his Piano Sonata No. 2 and quite lovely once you get past the main motif. It has been arranged for a variety of instruments and even full orchestra and has been played at numerous funerals including Chopin’s own burial in October 1849 at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

7. Liszt – Totentanz

“Totentanz” translates to “Dance of the Dead” in English. It joins several other works by Liszt in showing his fascination with death. In fact, it is said he frequented hospitals and asylums and even went down into prison dungeons to see those condemned to die.

8. Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D minor

Probably the most famous piece of organ music written, the Toccata and Fugue in D minor was not intended to be creepy, but thanks to its use in numerous films, it has become a cliché to illustrate horror and villainy.

9. Rachmaninoff – Isle of the Dead

Another symphonic poem that depicts a story, this piece was inspired by a reproduction of a painting of the same name that Rachmaninoff saw in Paris. The opening of the piece is either suggestive of oars as they meet the waters on the way to the Isle of the Dead or the waves themselves.

10. Gounod – Funeral March of a Marionette

Ok. One listen to this piece and you’ll instantly recognize it as the theme for Alfred Hitchcock Presents. However, it has also a great piece for Halloween because of its subject matter (a funeral) and it’s oddly catchy and creepy melody. The storyline that the piece follows is that a marionette has died in a duel, the funeral procession commences, and then, during the central section, mourners take refreshments before returning to the march.

11. Penderecki – Intermezzo For 24 Strings

Not an overtly Halloween-themed piece, the chromatic layering of instruments has a creepy effect that makes this a great addition to any Halloween playlist. Penderecki is a Polish composer of the 20th and 21st century whose music has sometimes been adapted for films. His String Quartet and Kanon For Orchestra and Tape were featured in the 1973 movie The Exorcist

12. Grieg – “In The Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer Gynt

The translation of the title of this piece from Norwegian isn’t quite literally “mountain king”. The “king” in this instance is actually a troll that Peer Gynt invents in a fantasy. The introduction of this movement is, “There is a great crowd of troll courtiers, gnomes and goblins. Dovregubben sits on his throne, with crown and sceptre, surrounded by his children and relatives. Peer Gynt stands before him. There is a tremendous uproar in the hall.”

 

Why Cellists (and Musicians in General) Hate Pachelbel’s Canon in D



Ah, Pachelbel’s Canon in D. It’s a staple at weddings. It’s almost always found on “relaxing classical music” playlists. It can even be heard during the holidays both in its original form and as incorporated into Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Canon.

It is perhaps one of the most famous baroque pieces that almost anyone – classical music fan or not – can hum without help. And yet, it is also one of the most hated by musicians themselves, particularly cellists. But why?

That Terrible Bass Line

Pachelbel’s Canon, as it is commonly known, is one part of his Canon and Gigue for 3 violins and basso continuo. In simple terms, a canon is similar to a round – like Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Typically, one instrument or voice starts the melody and other parts then join in. Unlike a round, however, the parts in a canon don’t have to be exactly identical.

Pachelbel uses the techniques of the canon with 3 voices engaged in the “round”. He adds a basso continuo (bass line) which is independent – making the piece more of a chaconne than a canon. This bass line is the cello part. The same 8 notes that repeat throughout the entire piece with no variation. This is why cellists cannot stand playing this piece. As everyone else in the room enjoys the lovely sounds of the canon, the variations of the melody that travel through the violins and viola, the cello is stuck playing the same two-bar line – one that is so simple it can be played by beginning students. Musically speaking, this is definitely not challenging or fun for cellists.

Canon In D Bass Line

…or is it? The Piano Guys have a wonderful rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon that plays on this common cellist complaint and takes the piece to new heights.

Incidentally, I describe the bass line as the cello part, but it can be played by other instruments (as is the case in wind ensembles).

It’s Overexposed

It’s not just the bass line that is played over and over again. The entire piece itself seems to be overplayed. Weddings, parties, relaxing CDs, holidays, etc. It’s everywhere.

In addition to its original form, the piece’s chord progression can be heard in numerous other places including in popular music. Green Day’s Basket Case, Oasis’ Don’t Look Back In Anger, and Vitamin C’s Graduation are all based on the same chords. Some songs even incorporate samples of the original, as is the case in Coolio’s C U When You Get There.

One could argue that that’s evidence of the simple genius of the piece. Comedian Rob Paravonian would disagree with that.

There Are Many, Many Better Pieces

Perhaps one of the most common reasons musicians give for why they dislike (or even hate) Pachelbel’s Canon is because there is plenty of “better” classical music out there to choose from. One Google search for “relaxing classical music” or “classical wedding music” will return numerous options that are NOT the famous canon. Debussy’s Clair de Lune, Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, and Elgar’s Salut d’Amour just to name a few.

Musically, Pachelbel’s Canon also doesn’t offer much. For those who were taught to listen closely to minute details in music, the piece falls far short from anything written by Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. It’s unsophisticated and highly redundant.

But its simplicity is effective. The unvarying melody at the root of the composition and the repeating basso continuo line are designed to sustain a mood. Unlike other pieces that use a chord structure that gives the music forward momentum (dynamic harmony or chord progression), Canon in D uses a chord structure that does not vary much (static harmony). So unlike music that creates moments of tension and relaxation to tell a story, the canon’s repeating chords serve to prolong the same calm feeling throughout the entire piece.

When It’s Played Badly, It’s Awful

Because the piece is so well-known, mistakes and intonation issues stick out like a sore thumb. One lazy performer – including the musician falling asleep while playing the bass line – can ruin the entire piece.

So while the piece may be the bane of your existence for any of the reasons mentioned above, if you have to play Pachelbel’s Canon, be sure to play it well and in-tune or everyone will notice.


2017 Halloween Events In Parker, CO


Updated 10/11/2017

Denver area city and town calendars are absolutely filled with Halloween events throughout October and especially the weekend before the holiday and Parker’s is no exception. From costumes and trick or treating with the little ones to spooky concerts for adults, here’s a list of Parker, Colorado Halloween Events (and activities near the town) to help you have a fun and festive time.

Denver Area Halloween Concert in ParkerSounds of the Deep: Explore the darker side of classical music with the Parker Symphony Orchestra and Parker Arts. The program includes Debussy’s “The Sunken Cathedral”, selections from “Phantom of the Opera”, “Orpheus in the Underworld”, and more. There will even be a performance of a piece by Parker, CO composer Ryan Smith. October 27 at 7:30 at PACE Center, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, CO 80138 Tickets available: parkerarts.ticketforce.com

Parker Colorado Halloween Event Treat or Treat MainstreetTrick or Treat on Mainstreet: Kids of all ages (and well-behaved dogs) can dress up and join the festive fun on Mainstreet, run by the Cherry Creek Valley Rotary Club. Shop owners along East Mainstreet and in the Baskin Robbins shopping center will have candy and treats for your little ones and you can browse the booths of other local businesses along the way. Parking is available at The Parker Station Parking lot and at the PACE Center. For more information, visit the main site here trickortreatonmainstreet.com or ourparkercolorado.com. Downtown Parker, Colorado along Mainstreet east of Parker Road from 3:30 pm -7:00 pm

Parker Co Halloween Event Sweet StreetSafe Halloween Sweet Street: A group of local businesses on the four corners of S. Progress Way and Plaza Drive are offering a safe and fun trick-or-treat walk perfect for Parker kids. Wear costumes, bring goodie bags, and park anywhere along the route in the parking lots. Hosted by The Perfect Fit-children’s footwear, participating businesses include The Perfect Fit, Little Monkey Bizness, J Salon, Kim & Cam’s Taekwondo, Usborne Books & More, Purgatory Cellars, Fast Signs, The Gator Loft, Elk Mountain Brewing, Dolphinz Swim School, Great Finds, Hansen Glass, Board & Brush, Honey Baked Ham, High Prarie Quilts, and Momentum Athletics. October 27 from 3 PM – 6 PM around 10350 S Progress Way, Parker, CO 80134

Parker Halloween Event Fall FestivalRocky Vista Annual Fall Festival: Rocky Vista University’s student clubs and organizations are hosting a free fall festival that’s sure to be a family hit complete with hay rides, cookie decorating, pumpkin painting, obstacle courses, and more. Wear your costume and join the fun. The event is free and open to the community and a great way to kick off your Halloween weekend. October 28 from 1 PM – 3 PM at 8401 S Chambers Road, Parker, CO 80134

Parker Halloween Event Trunk or Treat at Cherokee Trail ElementaryCTE Trunk-Or-Treat: For a family-friendly community event where kids can trick-or-treat safely, check out the “Trunk or Treat” event at Cherokee Trail Elementary. Kids will experience a fun-filled afternoon complete with a ghoulish game area featuring Witch Toss, Halloween Bingo, Pumpkin Tic-Tac-Toe, Tombstone Toss, and Pirate Hood Ring Toss – all sponsored by Home Stars of Parker. Bring bags and kick off the Halloween weekend! October 28 from 4 PM – 6 PM at Cherokee Trail Elementary, 17302 Clarke Farms Dr, Parker, CO 80134

Parker Halloween Event 17 Mile House Fall FestivalFall Festival at 17 Mile House Just outside Parker is the historic 17 Mile House Farm Park. If you haven’t been there before, October 14 is the perfect day because Arapahoe County is hosting a Free Fall Festival. Pick your favorite pumpkin, enjoy a scenic hayride, try gold panning, experience farm life, pet your favorite animals at the petting farm, take a guided tour, and enjoy music. There will even be Goat Yoga before the event from 9-10 AM. The house is a 155-year old property, which once served as an inn for pioneers traveling on wagon trails to Denver, and was a working farm for more than a century. October 14 from 11 AM – 5 PM at 8181 S Parker Rd, Aurora, CO 80016

Parker Halloween Event 17 Mile House Fall FestivalBat Encounters PACE Center isn’t just home to great concerts from the Parker Symphony. Check out this Family Discovery Series Event – Bat Encounters. Meet bats from around the world including the largest bat with a 6-foot wingspan. Bat expert and founder of the Organization for Bat Conservation Rob Mies will present a fascinating and educational program giving you insight into how bats are key pollinators in deserts and tropical forests and how they are economically important in Colorado. You’ll also learn how you can help bats in your backyard and neighborhood. October 26 at PACE, 20000 Pikes Peak Ave., Parker, CO 80138

Parker Halloween Event Fright Night at the FieldhouseFieldhouse Fright Night Welcome ghastly ghouls, spooky spirits, and wicked witches to a night of tricks and treats. Kids can make their way down the Trick-or-Treat Street, play games, experience the haunted house, conquer the climbing wall, and skate the night away (bring skates). A family costume contest will take place with different age groups. It’s sure to be a night of family-friendly fun. Cost is $6. Kids 2 and under and non-skating/non-climbing parents are Free. October 21 from 5:30 PM to 9 PM at Parker Fieldhouse, 18700 E Plaza Drive, Parker, CO 80134

Parker Halloween Event Pumpkin Festival at Tagawa GardensTagawa Gardens Pumpkin Festival: Tagawa Gardens’ Pumpkin Festival has returned for 2017. Every weekend from October 7 to October 22, the nursery offers fun family friendly activities including the bat cave, pony rides, petting zoo, mini train rides, hayride, pumpkin decorating, spider craft, wild on water bubbles, obstacle course, and more. See their website for complete schedule as activities vary by day and weekend. Some activities are free while others require tickets. Tickets can be purchased on-site. October 7 & 8, October 14 & 15, and October 21 & 22 from 10 AM to 3 PM. Tagawa Gardens, 7711 South Parker Road, Centennial, CO 80016 (at the corner of Broncos Parkway and South Parker Road)

 

Classical Music Crossword Puzzle



Challenge yourself (or pass the time) with our classical music crossword puzzle.

Classical Music Crossword Puzzle

Across
2. J.S. ____
4. Richard or Johann
6. French for “study”
9. Yo-Yo Ma’s instrument
11. Percussion with keys arranged like a piano
15. 18th century ballroom dance in 3
16. Itzhak _______
17. Pizzicato abbreviation
18. “The Planets” composer
21. Liszt’s nationality
23. Lowest string instrument
26. Many woodwinds need 1 or 2
27. “The Trout ____” – Schubert
30. Loud
31. City where Mozart is buried
32. Device that supports strings
33. Moderately slow tempo
34. All together

Down
1. Beethoven’s 6th Symphony Nickname
3. Composer of 106 symphonies
5. Flared part of many brass instruments
7. Toccata & _____
8. Mozart’s and Verdi’s are famous
9. Dvorak’s nationality
10. Opening to opera, ballet, etc.
12. Appalachian Spring composer
13. Chopin composed primarily for the…
14. A conductor’s stick
19. Musical era from 1600-1750
20. Also called Kettle Drums
22. Composition inspired by night
24. A lullaby often in 6/8 time
25. Famous Italian violin maker
28. Brass instrument with a slide
29. In The Hall Of The Mountain ____

Printing Instructions

  • Right click on the image and choose Save. Save to your computer.
  • Open in any image program
  • Change your print settings to print “Landscape”
  • Print

or

  • Right click on the image and choose Copy (or Copy Image)
  • Open Microsoft Word and a new blank document
  • Change the Layout to Landscape
  • Click on the document and hit CTRL and V at the same time
  • Print

 

10 Badass Pieces Of Classical Music


We’ve all heard it. The jokes about classical music putting people to sleep. Sure, some pieces are great for studying, meditation, weddings, and solemn events, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this genre. If all classical music were soft, quiet, and relaxing, orchestra life would be pretty boring especially for the percussion and brass sections. Forte would be a rare dynamic. Fortissimo an impossibility. And audiences would be very hard to come by – unless, of course, they were trying to catch some zzz’s.

So why do people say that about classical music? Maybe it’s because they just haven’t heard the more rousing pieces. Maybe they only remember the softer side of classical because that’s all they hear at weddings. Regardless of the reason, here’s a list of badass classical music that shatters the stereotype.


  • Orff – Carmina Burana / “O Fortuna”

  • Holst – The Planets, Mars

  • Verdi – Requiem “Dies Irae”

  • Wagner – Ride of the Valkyries

  • Vivaldi – The Four Seasons: Summer Mvt. 3 Presto

  • Bizet – Carmen Overture / Les Toreadors

  • Mussorgsky – Night on Bald Mountain

  • Verdi – Il Trovatore / “Anvil Chorus”

  • Khachaturian – Sabre Dance

  • Strauss – Also Sprach Zarathustra, Prelude

 

Honorable Mentions (in case you want to check out more):

  • Tchaikovsky – 1812 Overture
  • Shostakovich – Symphony No 5, Mvt 4
  • Bruckner – Symphony No 1, Mvt 3
  • Grieg – In The Hall Of The Mountain King
  • Dvorak – Symphony No 9, Mvt 4
  • Mozart – Requiem in D minor, Dies Irae
  • Bizet – L’Arlésienne Suite No 2, Mvt 4 (Farandole)
  • Saint-Saëns – Symphony No 3, Mvt 3 and 4
  • Beethoven – Symphony No 9, Mvt 4
  • Glinka – Overture from Ruslan and Ludmilla
  • Holst – The Planets, Jupiter
  • Mozart – Symphony No 25, Mvt 1
  • Bach – Toccata and Fugue in D minor
  • Smyth – The Wreckers (Overture)

 

Fun Christmas Music Facts & Hanukkah Song Trivia

Parker Symphony Holiday Concert

The Parker Symphony Orchestra is currently rehearsing music for the upcoming A Classic Parker Holiday concerts including pieces we’ll perform with the Parker Chorale. So it’s only appropriate and timely that we share some cool Christmas music trivia and Hanukkah music facts. From the “Chanukah Song” to “Winter Wonderland”, we think you’ll agree that these are interesting tidbits that may just make for great conversation starters this holiday season.

1. “Jingle Bells” is actually a Thanksgiving song. It was written by James Lord Pierpont, an organist at a Unitarian church, and performed during a Thanksgiving concert at the church. It was originally titled “The One Horse Open Sleigh” but re-published later with the title we all know today. “Jingle Bells” is also the first song that was broadcast from space.

2. Many Christmas songs were written by Jewish songwriters. These include “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Johnny Marks, “Let It Snow” by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn, and “Winter Wonderland” by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith.

3. “The Christmas Song” was written during summer. While many Christmas carols sound like they were written during the perfect snowfall or holiday get-together, “The Christmas Song” was penned during a heat wave. In the summer of 1944, Mel Tormé was inspired by a few lines he saw jotted down by his friend and lyricist Bob Wells. They wrote the song as a way to distract themselves from the heat, but since it only took 45 minutes to complete the song, the relief didn’t last long.

4. The English version of “I Have a Little Dreidel” is slightly different than the Yiddish version. The title in Yiddish is “Ikh Bin A Kleyner Dreydl” or literally “I am a little dreidel”. In English, the singer sings about the dreidel, whereas in the Yiddish version, the singer is the dreidel. In the Yiddish lyrics, the dreidel is made out of “blay” or lead. in English, it is clay.

5. The best-selling single of all time is Bing Crosby’s performance of “White Christmas”. While there are no reliable sales figures that date back to when it was recorded, researchers from the Guinness book of records estimate that this version has sold no less than 50 million copies.

6. “Do You Hear What I Hear” is an anti-war song. The word “peace” often makes its appearance in carols including “Silent Night” and the slightly lesser known “Let There Be Peace On Earth”, but “Do You Hear What I Hear” was specifically written as a call for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was written by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne when America was on the brink of nuclear war. It is said Shayne was inspired by the sight of mothers pushing baby carriages on a city street.

7. The Christian hymn “Rock of Ages” came from a Hanukkah song. “Ma’oz Tzur” is typically sung after lighting the festival lights at Hanukkah. The hymn’s name comes from its Hebrew incipit (the first few words of the text) which means “Stronghold of the Rock”. A loose English translation of the hymn was written that many know as “Rock of Ages”.

8. Tony the Tiger sang a Christmas song. If you’re a real Christmas music buff, you’ll recognize the name Thurl Ravenscroft. He is the singer behind “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. The narrator of the Dr. Seuss classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was Boris Karloff, but he couldn’t sing. So the production team brought in Ravenscroft. Ravenscroft’s other claim to fame is his voiceover work. He is the voice of “Tony the Tiger” and is best known for his “they’re grrrrrrreat!” line.

9. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” may be one of the oldest, if the not the oldest, of all Christmas songs. It gained popularity in the 18th century, but it was written in Latin around the 9th century. Researchers believe that Gregorian monks first composed the song, but this is just a good guess. It has been associated with Christmas for almost 1200 years and was translated into English in 1851.

10. “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” was sung by a veterinarian. It was written in 1978 to be more of a joke than anything. Certainly it’s not a serious holiday hymn to say the least and it often makes lists of least favorite Christmas songs (although it’s sold more than 40 million copies). It was written by Randy Brooks, but he asked husband-and-wife duo Elmo and Patsy to perform it. Elmo, whose real name is Elmo Shropshire, is actually a licensed veterinarian.

11. Mendelssohn composed the music for “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” to celebrate the inventor Johann Gutenberg. Charles Wesley wrote the original words with the opening, “Hark! how all the welkin rings / Glory to the King of Kings”. The opening was changed to the one we sing today by George Whitefield and was set to Mendelssohn’s music to create the carol we all know. Mendelssohn’s composition was actually a cantata to commemorate Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press.

12. The uncut version of “The Chanukah song” is the one you hear on the radio. There are actually 4 versions or 4 parts to this non-traditional Hanukkah song written by Adam Sandler and SNL writers Lewis Morton and Ian Maxton-Graham. The part you typically hear on the radio at this time of year is Part 1, but did you know this is the uncensored version? The final verse sung on SNL and on an edited recording includes the line “Drink your gin and tonic-ah, but don’t smoke marijuan-icah.” The line you hear on the uncut album, the version that receives the most radio airplay, is actually, “Drink your gin and tonic-ah, and smoke your marijuan-icah.”

 

Top 7 Pirate Classical Music Pieces

 

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day! In honor of the day, we’ve compiled a list of classical music related to the pirate life. From famous soundtracks to swashbuckling operas to rousing overtures, we’ve got your definitive playlist for the day.

1. Gilbert & Sullivan – The Pirates of Penzance

Probably the best known on our list is the fifth Gilbert and Sullivan collaboration. This comic opera brought us the much-parodied “Major General’s Song“. However, “I am a Pirate King” is a more appropriate selection for today. Watch this rousing pirate selection below.

2. Leroy Anderson – Pirate Dance

A light and exuberant piece, Anderson’s “Pirate Dance” has melodies you can certainly associate with pirate life. In fact, at one point, you can almost imagine it leading into the Disney “A Pirate’s Life For Me”, but it never quite gets there. Still, it’s a nice lighthearted selection for International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

3. Vincenzo Bellini – Il Pirata

Another opera on our list, Bellini’s “The Pirate” is based on a three-act melodrama called “Bertram, or The Pirate”. It was an immediate success upon its premiere in October 1827. Recent notable recordings have included such famous names as Maria Callas and Renée Fleming in the cast. Hear the opening below.

4. Walter Leigh – Jolly Roger

A rousing overture for sure, this lively piece will have you thinking adventure in no time. Leigh was an English composer in the early 20th century. Like “Pirates of Penzance”, “Jolly Roger” was a comic opera. Hear the overture below.

5. Klaus Badelt – Pirates of the Caribbean

You have to be marooned on an island not to know (or guess) that the music from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean” has a distinctly swashbuckling sound. Hear it performed live below.

6. Erich Wolfgang Korngold – The Sea Hawk

Another piece written for the movies, Korngold’s soundtrack for “The Sea Hawk” is an exciting and romantic score you wouldn’t guess was composed in the 1940’s. The movie itself starred Errol Flynn as an English privateer who defends his nation against the Spanish Armada. Hear the overture from the film score below.

7. John Williams – Hook

To round out the list, we couldn’t help but include John Williams’ Hook soundtrack. Of course a score for a film about Peter Pan and Captain Hook would have a distinctly adventurous sound. Watch the “Flight to Neverland” from Hook conducted by the composer himself.

 

Star Trek Musical Instruments

Image courtesy of realart.blogspot.comImage courtesy of realart.blogspot.com

50 years ago today, the first episode of Star Trek aired. Of course, it has become a classic with fans worldwide and numerous sequels and spinoffs. While alien worlds and beings, futuristic technology, timeless themes like love and conflict, and social commentary were at the center of episodes from Star Trek The Original Series to Star Trek The Next Generation and beyond, music also periodically made its appearance.

Ressikan Flute

Image courtesy of memory-alpha.wikia.com

Spock was often seen playing the Vulcan lute (pictured above), especially in episodes like “Charlie X”, “The Way To Eden”, and “Amok Time”. It was a 12-stringed instrument played on Vulcan and tuned on a diatonic scale. It was known for its soothing sound. Uhura was also able to play it and sang while playing during “The Conscience of the King”.

On Star Trek The Next Generation, Jean-Luc Picard played a Ressikan flute. He considered it one of his most prized possessions. He acquired it in an episode that dealt with the village of Ressik on the extinct plent of Kataan. He had been implanted with the memories of a man through a probe from the planet and among those memories was the ability to play the flute.

Other notable instruments and their players are listed below:

Violin: Data on Star Trek TNG
Cello: O’Brien on Star Trek TNG
Harpsichord: The Squire of Gothos (Star Trek TOS)
Clarinet: Harry Kim on Star Trek Voyager
Trombone: Riker on Star Trek TNG
Bagpipes: Scotty in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Piano: Sisko on Star Trek DS9, Spock in one episode of Star Trek TOS (“Requiem For Methuselah”)