Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens
For flute and piano
Fantaisie-transcription by Guiseppe Gariboldi
Published by Durand
Includes score and parts
Originally written in 1874 as a tone poem for orchestra, Saint-Saëns’s Danse macabre, Op. 40, is based on the French legend that Death packs a fiddle and comes to play at midnight on Halloween, causing the skeletons in the cemetery to crawl out of the ground for their annual graveyard dance party.
Danse macabre, as a theme, was meant to represent how death was the great social equalizer — no one escapes the dance with death — and there were a number of paintings and pieces of art inspired by this philosophy. When Saint-Saëns initially wrote his Danse macabre it was actually an art song. Poet Henri Cazalis wrote lines like, “The bones of the dancers are heard to crack,” but two years later Saint-Saëns replaced the voice with the violin and the dissonance amped up its tension.