program notes by composition > D > Danse Macabre

Danse Macabre

Camille Saint-Saëns / trans. Mark Hindsley

Danse Macabre The clock strikes twelve midnight, a skeleton arises from the grave and sits on his tombstone. He tunes and plays his fiddle (represented in this band transcription by the alto saxophone.) This brings forth all the other skeletons in the graveyard for a revel of dancing. As dawn breaks and the cock crows, the skeletons scamper back to their graves and again all is quiet.

Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns (1835–1921) was a French composer, organist, conductor and pianist of the Romantic era. He was a musical prodigy, making his concert debut at the age of ten. He also distinguished himself in the study of French literature, Latin and Greek, divinity and mathematics. His interests extended to philosophy, archaeology and astronomy. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and became a church organist, first at Saint-Merri and, from 1858, at La Madeleine, the official church of the French Empire. After leaving the post twenty years later, he became a successful freelance pianist and composer, in demand in Europe and the Americas.

Last updated on May 7, 2018 by Palatine Concert Band