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Spirits and Specters and Spooks, Oh My!

October 29, 2010

  Being Halloween weekend, I thought it would be fun to get all freaked out with stories about real live haunted concert halls.  Here’s the snag: apparently ghosts aren’t big classical music fans, because there’s not a lot out there about them aimlessly floating around orchestra pits and stage riggings.  However, I did find these four places that try to cash in on a bit of ghoulish action, but I get more of a chill opening my Visa bill than reading about these haunted halls. 
Cincinnati Music Hall                                                      Glasgow Concert Hall                               
Kansas City Music Hall                                                    Royal Albert Hall  

Since that idea contributed nothing to this post, plan B was going to be a list of the scariest classical pieces out there… only that Jalthouse (and probably a few other blogs) beat me to it a couple of years ago.  Check them out.  He’s got some great suggestions that will get the kids running from your house in terror.  Bonus: you get to eat all the candy they leave behind 🙂

So, with my imagination fading quickly after a long and hectic week, my ideas for plan C were running thin.  Surfing for inspiration, I landed on one of my fav classical music blogs, Soho the Dog, who had posted the below pic, which I now pass on to you.  Thanks to Soho, you now have your very own Karlheinz Stockhausen mask.  Your friends will be green with envy.  Trust me.

A bit of superficial background on Stockhausen: he was a pioneer of electronic music, and an innovator when it came to sampling sounds and pasting them together to form a composition.  So much so that he has a widespread following, including some heavyweight fans who call him an influence – Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Kraftwerk, Pink Floyd, Brian Eno, Herbie Hancock, Sonic Youth, Björk, to name some.  The Beatles even gave him a place on the cover of their 1967 “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album

While you enjoy the enchantment of your rare Stockhausen mask, hit play on this video. 

Imagine it’s approaching midnight on All Hallows’ Eve.  You’ve somehow become separated from your friends after a night of trick-or-treating and have stumbled deep into a dense forest, having lost all sense of direction, as well as your flashlight in the process.  You call out your friends’ names, frightened of your unfamiliar surroundings.  No answer.  You call again, more to hear the comforting presence of your own voice than out of hope that they’ll answer you back.  As you hold your breath and quiet your beating heart to listen, you slowly become aware of this music faintly pulsing from… somewhere.  It seems to be growing louder with every step, coming from above you, in front of you, behind you.  You can’t shut it out.  The sound evolves into a chorus of soprano children’s voices, dissonant, disjointed, almost wailing.  Panicked, you begin to run, blindly crashing into branches as you try to escape the relentless cacophony filling your ears.  Suddenly THIS jumps out of the bush in front of you!!

At that point you pass out, and Stockhausen and the child ghosts steal all your candy.   The (tragic) End.

Creepy soundtrack, isn’t it?

Here‘s another piece of his that might even be creepier. 

Here‘s a more in-depth article on Stockhausen.

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