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Danse macabre Op. 40 (Arranged for Piano Duet)
By Camille Saint-Saens

Composed by Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921). Arranged by Wendy Hiscocks. Piano Duet. Edition Peters. Sheet. 28 pages. Edition Peters #98-EP7955. Published by Edition Peters (PE.EP7955).

Item Number: PE.EP7955

ISBN 9790577086378. English.

Saint-Saëns' Danse macabre has long been available in the composer's own sizzling transcription for two pianos.

By contrast, the standard piano duet arrangement of the piece (by Ernest Guiraud) appears to have been derived from the orchestral score and is often disappointingly thin. An obvious solution was to make the present new duet arrangement, following the composer's two-piano version as closely as possible.

As a symphonic poem Danse macabre was elaborated (in 1874) from Saint-Saëns' earlier song-setting of a poem by Henri Cazalis - a sort of French Tom O'Shanter without the chase, in which the devil, playing a mistuned fiddle, conjures skeletons from their graves at midnight into a macabre dance (Cazalis' profession as a doctor doubtless fed his imagination).

Saint-Saëns' orchestral version was the first orchestral score to use a xylophone, in a tune that he later recycled for Fossils in Carnaval des animaux.

Roy Howat

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  • Ratings + Reviews

  • 5

    Saint Paul, MN
    Difficulty Level:
  • May 16, 2012 Love it!

    This is a great arrangement of this orchestral work. It's very satisfying to play; a lot of it is sight-readable but there are a few bars that are challenging. Well worth any effort you put into it!

    13 of 24 people found this review helpful.
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