Saturday, October 31, 2009


The late 19th century French composer Camille Saint-Saens produced a marvelous piece for violin and orchestra titled “Danse Macabre.” It has ghostly sounds in it, as well as the imitation of skeletons dancing.

Later on, he would write an orchestral piece called “Carnival of the Animals.” In it he mimics the sounds of all kinds of characters found in nature: lions, donkeys, swans, tortoises, elephants… It is a delight. One ‘character,’ though is named “Old Fossils.” Here Saint-Saens has fun with himself. He takes a theme from his “Danse Macabre” (the one imitating a skeleton dancing) and plays it as if on a ‘xylophone’ made of the rib-cage of a dinosaur (an ‘old fossil’—get it?).

In a Halloween spirit, then, I offer a performance (slightly edited) of “Danse Macabre.” See if and where you discover the ghosts and skeletons.

And for good measure, here is the section "Fossils" from "Carnival of the Animals," with the additional Ogden Nash verses declaimed with remarkable aplomb by Sir Roger Moore.


  1. Still trying to learn how to send a comment...aidan

  2. By George, I think I've got it?? :) aidan

  3. More seriously...I enjoyed the "off beat Halloween" was delightful...I admire the way you can use such technology so must be a "knee jerk" movement!! :) aidanaccio