Danse Macabre- the haunting orchestral masterpiece that originated in the early 1870’s by Saint-Saëns was originally not so well received. Bummer. Enter Franz Liszt to put his magic fingers to work and what do ya know… it became quite a hit. 🎹 I must admit I prefer the rather chaotic original version…but I digress. If you want to listen to the tunes check the comments, I’ll link them there.
Danse Macabre isn’t just a haunting orchestral masterpiece. The concept of danse macabre, or the idea that skeletons show up and walk you hand in hand to your grave is one that has stitched it’s way through time and has created a true tapestry throughout music and art.
Word has it that the origin of danse macabre happened in the streets of Paris in the early 1400’s…you know, when the black death was the way to go.
When the cemetery is next door to the outdoor market and everyone is co-mingling you can see how fun and frivolity were perhaps juxtaposed with the darkness of death. Good times. It certainly didn’t help when an old school ‘Banksy’ type showed up to paint a huge mural of skeletons on the wall of said market depicting some regular folks hand in hand with our skeleton friends walking into oblivion. Ahhhhhh yes. This masterpiece faced the Rue de la Ferronerie, which was the one time “main drag” through Paris, long gone (sadly the Cemetery was destroyed in 1786) and the painting that depicted skeletons escorting Parisians from every walk of life was gone forever.
Sadly, that mural of those jovial folks being led to their final graves by happyAF skeletons was no more…the butchers, the bakers, the candlestick makers….all gone. Forever
Va te faire foutre!!!!
Does death bring a fleeting moment of comfort and happiness? That moment our bodies’ built in opiates kick in to overdrive…endorphins and cortisols releasing at a high octane crescendo resulting in some amazing moment… a dance, perhaps.
I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.
With that said, I hope you listen to some Danse Macabre conceived by our long ago dearly departed Camille Sant-Saëns and while you’re at it check out some of this art I “dug up”.
There are literally millions of paintings, etchings, carvings, artifacts, etc. that depict the foray into death via the danse macabre and I’d be remiss to offer this tiny lot as a legit education. I’m just trying to connect the dots. This is a diary you know!!
Furthermore danse macabre has steadfastly needled it’s way into popular culture to the point that it’s a bit more humorous…or should I say humerus. Ok. Ok.
Word has it this poem was written in the last hundred years but no one is sure who penned it, goes to show you, some things never change.
A Memento Mori
Dance with them what brung ya.
Your station will not save you
When horsemen you unleash
Ride through the gate you opened.
Vain is earthly glory
When waters rise to take us,
When pestilence and want
Spawn war among the nations.
Dance with them what brung ya.
Lick boots and pet your master.
Clap, let step be lively.
In death are all unit.