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SKU: BRE6367EM

Danse macabre, Op. 40, is a tone poem for orchestra, written in 1874 by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. It started out in 1872 as an art song for voice and piano with a French text by the poet Henri Cazalis, which is based on an old French superstition. In 1874, the composer expanded and reworked the piece into a tone poem, replacing the vocal line with a solo violin. When Danse macabre was first performed it was not well received. The piece caused widespread consternation: the commentator Roger Nichols mentions adverse reaction to "the deformed Dies irae plainsong", the "horrible screeching from solo violin", the use of a xylophone and "the hypnotic repetitions", in which Nichols hears a pre-echo of Ravel's Bolero. Shortly after the premiere, the piece was transcribed into a piano arrangement by Franz Liszt, a good friend of Saint-Saëns. The composition was again later transcribed for piano by Vladimir Horowitz. This is a transcription for brass choir or double brass quintet by Elliott Chasanov (University of Illinois).