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#405262 - 10/13/02 11:00 PM Hauntingly chilling pieces
SethW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/01
Posts: 106
What do you think are the downright scariest, terrifying, or haunting pieces written for piano. I thought this would be a good topic to speculate on seeing the season. Sonata #9 (Or was I thinking of the eigth?) composed by Scriabin, perhaps? "Scarbo" by Ravel? Even Mikrocosmos? go ahead and reveal it. Feel free to name chamber, orchestral, operatic works with piano. Name celesta, organ, and other keyboard works, if you want.

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#405263 - 10/13/02 11:16 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
Brendan Offline



Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5318
Loc: McAllen, TX
I was terrified of "Il Pensiero" from the second book of Annees de Pelerinage and the 17th Hungarian Rhapsody when I was little.

Scriabin's 10th also freaked me out the first time that I heard it.

Edit: Mahler 6 as well.
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#405264 - 10/13/02 11:29 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4111
Liszt's Mephisto Waltz has some chilling moments, quite devilish! Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony is absolutely immense in sound, it engulfs me in a cataclymsic fury of passion and somberness. A lot of Messiaen's pieces have a relfective, somber mood to them that makes one think while the music plays. The Op. 27, no. 1 Nocturne of Chopin is very gloomy, and the sarcastic middle section only adds to the mysterious mood. Liszt's etude "Paysage" has a very somber and lyrically intense atmosphere, it is a piece that makes me remember things from the far past- this one gets my vote as most atmospheric. Debussy's "Voiles" from preludes Bk. I is also a dark and somberly majestic (what choice of words, but it is very true!), and his feux d'artice is scary in the sense that the piece is very "Cold" emotionally, no real substance besides the various figurations.

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#405265 - 10/13/02 11:59 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
mkesfahani Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 836
Loc: Irvine, CA
Yes, I second Mephisto Waltz. One song (not piece) that immediately came to mind was Nachtens (Night Visions) by Brahms for SATB choir and piano that I sang last year or so.

Mike

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#405266 - 10/14/02 02:21 AM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
jeffylube Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/02
Posts: 716
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
Definitely the 2nd movement of the Bartok piano concerto #1...

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#405267 - 10/14/02 03:31 AM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
StanSteel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 646
Loc: Los Angeles
Scriabin's Sonata #6
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#405268 - 10/14/02 06:11 AM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
da 6th finger Offline
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Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 87
Loc: New Zealand
Liszt's Petrach sonnets 104 and 123
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#405269 - 10/14/02 10:01 AM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
mrenaud Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 1314
Loc: Switzerland
Khachaturian, piano concerto, 2nd movement. The melody itself is haunting, and the orchestration enhances that greatly, especially the bass clarinet at the beginning and the flexatone somewhere in the middle.

I'd also mention Mahler's 7th (no piano, but haunting as well).
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#405270 - 10/14/02 01:12 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1660
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
If you're looking for a work to play for Halloween, then Liszt's arrangement of Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre is a sure fire hit.
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Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
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#405271 - 10/14/02 01:26 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1660
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by SethW:
What do you think are the downright scariest, terrifying, or haunting pieces written for piano. I thought this would be a good topic to speculate on seeing the season. Sonata #9 (Or was I thiking of the eigth?) composed by Scriabin, perhaps? "[/b]
I would guess you're thinking of the 9th. I don't consider the 8th to be frightening, although it has a certain eerie beauty. The 6th, for me is the most frightening of Scriabin's sonatas. How 'bout that 23 note rolled chord?
_________________________
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

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#405272 - 10/14/02 02:43 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
 Quote:
The 6th, for me is the most frightening of Scriabin's sonatas. How 'bout that 23 note rolled chord?
Are we talking about scary to hear or scary to play ? :p

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#405273 - 10/14/02 03:28 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
jazzyd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/01
Posts: 1861
Loc: United Kingdom
The final fugue from Bach's "Art of Fugue".
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#405274 - 10/14/02 03:34 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1660
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Nina:
Are we talking about scary to hear or scary to play ? :p [/b]
BOTH!
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Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

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#405275 - 10/14/02 03:38 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
JBryan Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/02
Posts: 9798
Loc: Oklahoma City
Variations on a Theme of Paganini by Rachmaninoff
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Better to light one small candle than to curse the %&#$@#! darkness.

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#405276 - 10/14/02 04:11 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
SethW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/01
Posts: 106
 Quote:
I would guess you're thinking of the 9th. I don't consider the 8th to be frightening, although it has a certain eerie beauty. The 6th, for me is the most frightening of Scriabin's sonatas. How 'bout that 23 note rolled chord?[/b]
Your correct. I was thinking of the ninth sonata.

Has anyone heard of the Makrokosmos (pardon the minor spelling mistake in the earlier post) for amplified piano? Besides being a really good piece, it has some of the strangest notation I've seen. I don't have a recording, so are their any recommendations if you have knowledge concerning this piece?

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#405277 - 10/14/02 06:41 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19455
Loc: New York City
Scriabin: Sonata No. 9
Schumann: Haunted Place from Waldscenen
Liszt: Funerialles, Dante Sonata
Chopin: B minor Scherzo, D minor Prelude, Finale from B minor Sonata
Ravel: Le Gibet

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#405278 - 10/14/02 07:07 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
Đanor Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1232
Loc: Santiago, Chile
oh, the beggining of the Liszt sonata in B minor is just so !!!

also the petrouchka's transcription (petrouchka's room) have some very cool rapid passages...

and finally the great scarbo and there`s a ligeti etude called "vertige" that really makes you feel "vertige"
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#405279 - 10/14/02 07:34 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
kdurling Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 37
Loc: Berkeley, California
"Makrokosmos" are by George Crumb. Fascinating composer. Pretty sure they've been recorded, but I don't recall by whom.
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Ken

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#405280 - 10/14/02 08:44 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
SethW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/01
Posts: 106
You nailed it! I'll see what recordings are available.

Back on topic, Ligeti seems to write lots of stuff that meets the criteria. His Requiem defnitely ranks up there. Organ works by Vierne and Messiaen ( e.g, the "Livre du Saint- Sacrement" [?]) deserve mention.

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#405281 - 10/14/02 10:12 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
JS Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/01
Posts: 306
Loc: Lubbock, TX
The Makrokosmos has been recorded several times. The recording I know is by (I believe) Paul Jacobs.

If you're just starting out, I'd suggest looking at "Dream Images" - it's one of the easier ones to play, and doesn't require much preparation of the piano.

I'd also suggest George Crumbs "Five Pieces for Piano" and "Little Suite for Christmas" - both are shorter and a bit less daunting than the Makrokosmos, but both are fantastic sets.

Other "scary" pieces might include the Emma Lou Diemer toccata, the Prokofiev Diabolic Suggestion, and a few Bartok pieces. (The third movement from the Op. 14 suite and the last movement of the "Out of Doors" suite come to mind...)

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#405282 - 10/14/02 10:51 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
.rvaga* Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 2046
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Berlioz "Symphonie Fantastique"

and. . .

"The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" for pipe organ.

:p

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#405283 - 10/15/02 12:47 AM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
aznxk3vi17 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/13/02
Posts: 701
Loc: Johns Hopkins University
Scarbo, yes, is truly a haunting piece for the piano, both to hear and play. At the end, the FFF climax is truly a vision to behold...

But what about Le gibet? The repeated Bb notes, mimicking the toll of a bell as the corpse of a man hangs in the setting sun... I find that Le gibet is more frightening to hear than Scarbo. The quiet ppp sections with the strange chords that descend is very scary, and the middle section with the despairing melody... truly scary.

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#405284 - 10/15/02 04:28 AM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
Ted2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/04/02
Posts: 790
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
In 1970 I wrote a group of piano pieces after reading "Lord of the Rings". One in particular, "The Ascent of Mount Doom", sits at the bottom of the pile of my scores in a cupboard. I never play it; it has terrible associations for me and was conceived after a ghastly personal event. I played it privately for five people close to me and terrible misfortunes occurred to each of them. Silly rot I know, but if such coincidences happen a number of times the most hardened sceptics among us become uneasy. It's the only superstition I allow myself.
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"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

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#405285 - 10/16/02 01:01 AM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
StanSteel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 646
Loc: Los Angeles
 Quote:
Originally posted by Hank Drake:
 Quote:
Originally posted by SethW:
What do you think are the downright scariest, terrifying, or haunting pieces written for piano. I thought this would be a good topic to speculate on seeing the season. Sonata #9 (Or was I thiking of the eigth?) composed by Scriabin, perhaps? "[/b]
I would guess you're thinking of the 9th. I don't consider the 8th to be frightening, although it has a certain eerie beauty. The 6th, for me is the most frightening of Scriabin's sonatas. How 'bout that 23 note rolled chord?[/b]
#6 was also the most frightening according to Scriabin himself, who refused to play it in public for this precise reason.
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"War does not determine who is right; only who is left."

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#405286 - 10/16/02 11:52 AM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3915
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ted2:
In 1970 I wrote a group of piano pieces after reading "Lord of the Rings". One in particular, "The Ascent of Mount Doom", sits at the bottom of the pile of my scores in a cupboard. I never play it; it has terrible associations for me and was conceived after a ghastly personal event. I played it privately for five people close to me and terrible misfortunes occurred to each of them. Silly rot I know, but if such coincidences happen a number of times the most hardened sceptics among us become uneasy. It's the only superstition I allow myself.[/b]
In one of his autobiographical books, Artur Rubinstein recounts a performance of Chopin's 2nd Sonata which revealed to one of the audience that he was dying. After that, Rubinstein never performed the piece in a private residence.

I found the recent reconstructed Chopin prélude, supposedly written when he was feverish, to be very evocative of that state.
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#405287 - 10/16/02 12:13 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
SethW Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/01
Posts: 106
 Quote:
Originally posted by JS:
The Makrokosmos has been recorded several times. The recording I know is by (I believe) Paul Jacobs.

If you're just starting out, I'd suggest looking at "Dream Images" - it's one of the easier ones to play, and doesn't require much preparation of the piano.[/b]
Thanks, but I'm just trying to get a recording to permantly put in the collection. I took a look at the "Magic Circle of Infinity" and another from the second set and decided that reading the music is challenging enough.

 Quote:
I'd also suggest George Crumbs "Five Pieces for Piano" and "Little Suite for Christmas" - both are shorter and a bit less daunting than the Makrokosmos, but both are fantastic sets.
[/b] I heard the 'Suite' at the last Cliburn, and it was indeed an interesting piece. Perhaps I will look at that one someday. It appears to be a good piece to learn the art of "plucking."

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#405288 - 10/16/02 09:16 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
StanSteel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 646
Loc: Los Angeles
(non-piano)
Cesar Franck: Le Chasseur Maudit
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"War does not determine who is right; only who is left."

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#405289 - 10/18/02 10:34 AM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
Hank Drake Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/01
Posts: 1660
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Hank Drake:
The 6th, for me is the most frightening of Scriabin's sonatas. How 'bout that 23 note rolled chord?[/b]
OOPS! I meant the 7th Sonata, that's the one with the rolled chord.

My bad. I must be going senile.
_________________________
Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell

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#405290 - 10/21/02 05:21 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
Lots of scary ones:

The Erl King. A father rides hard with his sick son through a storm. The "Erl King" voice is in the wind calling to the boy to come to him (die). The boy pleads with his father to save him. At the end the boy dies. I did a sequenced arrangement of this once. It freaked out my kids.

Much of Pictures at an Exhibition.

The Oxcart (visions of cattle straining at the yoke and being whipped to pull harder)
The Gnome
The Old Castle
The Catacombs
and With the Dead in the Tongue of the Dead (the title alone is pretty creepy)

Fingles Cave Overture

"Mars, the bringer of war " from "The Planets" is scary from a "Thousands of soldiers are coming to kill you" point of view.

Finally, for something REALLY scary: "Kenny G plays Barry Manilow's Greatest Hits"

:p
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#405291 - 10/21/02 06:56 PM Re: Hauntingly chilling pieces
CrashTest Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/01
Posts: 4111
Carmina Burana by Carl Orff has some chilling and beautiful moments in it, it is a great adventure in sound. Gregorian chant also has some interesting sounds that can be quite scary when you listen to it late at night! Sometimes I go to sleep listening to Chopin's nocturnes (Claudio Arrau) and some of the hauntingly beautiful melodies creep into my unconscience to the point that I often stay with that piece in my head all day!

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