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Thread: Go to hell!

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    Default Go to hell!

    Is there anything in classical music more fun than programmatically depicting hell? Berlioz adjusted the Faust myth because going to hell is so much more musically entertaining than depicting heaven, quite understandably. Aren't choirs yelling demonic names and random gibberish so much more fun in a concert than heavenly choirs?



    Or Stokowski going to hell so hard in Tchaikovsky's Francesca di Rimini that the timpani overdrive the mic (20:00)


    Of course, there's a lot of hellish music, depicting the supernatural, or fear, or demons, or war, but as for actual programmatic depictions of hell, it seems to be dominated by the above two literary sources- Faust and Dante.

    So if we want to listen to hell, where else should we go beyond Faust and Inferno? Do we have any great modernist, dissonant hells out there?

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    Crumb's Black Angels (but it ends in reconciliation)

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    Penderecki`s Paradise Lost which is based on Milton`s epic should be considered. A serious, monumental work but not very fun I guess. If you want some fun try Adriana Hölszky`s Dämonen instead.

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    Senior Member mbhaub's Avatar
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    Offenbach: Orpheus in the Underworld
    Liszt: Dante Symphony
    Sibelius: Swan of Tuonela
    "It is surprising how easily one can become used to bad music" - F. Mendelssohn

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    Senior Member MatthewWeflen's Avatar
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    Listening to Carl Orff's De Temporum Fine Comoedia must be what hell feels like.



    It is also kind of about that. So... win win?
    Last edited by MatthewWeflen; May-04-2021 at 16:21.

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    Senior Member Zhdanov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    Offenbach: Orpheus in the Underworld
    Gluck, for that matter, with his 'Orfeo & Euridice' which served for Offenbach to parody this then highly popular opera in his 'Orpheus'.

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    Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain is along the same lines.

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    Well, since you'd like to avoid specific Dante- and Faust scenes, of which there are of course many, here are some others:

    Lubos Fiser, "15 Pictures after Durer's Apocalypse" for orchestra; Piano Sonata no.6 "Fras/Devil";

    Serge Nigg, "Symphonie, Jerome Bosch" for orchestra;

    Langgaard, "Afgrundsmusik / Music of the Abyss", for piano.
    Last edited by joen_cph; May-04-2021 at 20:48.

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    Finale of Mozart's Don Giovanni
    (and there is already a Don Juan Ballet by Gluck but I don't know this)

    Conjuring scenes like Ulrica in Ballo, Purcell's "Saul and the witch of Endor" and the similar scene in Handel's Saul.

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    Senior Member Captainnumber36's Avatar
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    This is a fun thread, thanks!

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    In Dvorak's enchanting comic opera "The Devil & Kate", hell is depicted as a real fun place , and the devils are just a bunch of good ol' boys who sit around drinking and playing cards , although Lucifer gets a bit annoyed at them at times and tells them not to be so loud and rowdy .
    But things get a bit more complicated when Lucifer's wimpy assistant devil Marbuel accidentally brings the furious village girl Kate down with him . She's rather overweight and talkative, and she had been at a village dance where nobody wanted to dance with her !
    Marbuel has been sent to earth to find out whether the local princess, who has been cruel to the local people by foreign them to do unpaid labor, should be sent to hell .
    Everything works out for the best in the end, though . This opera is a blast !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kreisler jr View Post
    Finale of Mozart's Don Giovanni
    (and there is already a Don Juan Ballet by Gluck but I don't know this)

    Conjuring scenes like Ulrica in Ballo, Purcell's "Saul and the witch of Endor" and the similar scene in Handel's Saul.
    Ah Gluck Dance of the Furies from Don Juan...



    and Boccherini's reworking of the Gluck in his Symphony "La casa del diavolo".

    Last edited by Alfacharger; May-04-2021 at 23:42.

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    Tartini's Devil's Trill.

    Paganini's Faust-related-publicity.

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    Vaughan Williams ballet Job "Satan's Dance Of Triumph".



    or from his opera "The Pilgrim's Progress" the pilgrim meets Apollyon....

    Last edited by Alfacharger; May-04-2021 at 23:54.

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    Lucifer's Tanz" from Stockhausen's opera "Samstag aus Licht".

    Last edited by Andrew Kenneth; May-04-2021 at 23:56.

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