Gothic music?

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Gothic music?

set. 9, 2011, 3:44pm

While trying to build up some knowledge of the development of the genre since joining this group, I've vaguely wondered why I've come across so little mention (well - none at all, in fact) of the Gothic's influence on music in the 18th and 19th centuries. I mean, it's influenced a few poets and painters in addition to the novelists, surely a few composers must have come under the spell as well?

What's prompted this post is that it's just dawned on me that I'm listening to a 'Gothic' opera at this moment - tonight at The Proms they're doing Weber's Der Freischütz. Now, this was premiered in 1821, it features chaps selling their souls to the devil, dark midnight rites in the forest, the ghost of the hero's dead mother giving him warnings - Weber just has to have been influenced by the genre.

Yet nobody seems to call it so - Wikipedia has it as being 'considered as the first important German Romantic opera" - my italics.

Similar seems to go for Gounod's Faust (1859) and Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust (1846).

Anyone have any views or info on this subject? Do any of the academic works on the Gothic discuss music? Any suggestions for Gothic music?

What I'd really love to find is that someone back then was composing music to really scare the cr*p out of the audience - but, if it exists, I've never heard of it.

set. 9, 2011, 3:56pm

Wonderful topic, rankamateur. Music with Gothicky themes--Robert le Diable, a first in so many ways, for instance.

Nineteenth century opera pullulates with creepy motifs... a fruitful source.

set. 9, 2011, 4:08pm

Actually, Der Freischütz is turning out to be quite sinister and unsettling in places (I've previously only ever heard the overture) - very powerful.

Wish they were performing an English libretto, though - why we have to listen to a German opera sung in French at The Proms is beyond me.

Now I'm slowly dying of starvation and wondering if I can cook my dinner in the twenty-minute interval - bad planning this evening.

set. 9, 2011, 4:13pm

ghostly ship and cap'n--Der fliegende Holländer

A hunchback, and a curse--Rigoletto

A witch--Un ballo in maschera

Witches, three; and murder--Macbeth

A witchy gypsy, burning people alive, prisoners in a tower--Il trovatore

Poisonings galore--Lucrezia Borgia

Beheadings, prisoners in a tower--Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena, Salome

Mephistopheles and the fires of hell in general--Faust, Mefistofele, Don Giovanni

Sleepwalking--La sonnambula

Madness--I puritani, Lucia di Lamermoor

Murder, of wives especially--Bluebeard's Castle

Murder, of children--Woyzeck

I shall be back...

set. 9, 2011, 4:14pm

When I saw the title I though this thread was going to be about stuff like Sisters of Mercy and Christian Death. :P

What about Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman?

set. 9, 2011, 4:16pm

That wind-up dancer is creepy, indeed.

By the way, I would LOVE to remember a Gothicky band from--the early nineties I think, with a very long name, like a phrase or even a full sentence.

Any bells, anyone, even tiny ones?

set. 9, 2011, 4:17pm

Possibly something something BRIDE (or BRIDES) something something

For some reason Nick Cave's Ship of fools is completely blurring the memory of the former.

set. 9, 2011, 4:17pm

Hmm....The Jesus and Mary Chain? Just a wild guess.

set. 9, 2011, 4:18pm

No, please try again. Possibly BRITISH!

set. 9, 2011, 4:24pm

Last try. lol. Southern Death Cult?

I have to say I primarily listen to Hardcore punk but I like the Deathrock end of the Goth spectrum. Maybe someone more into the Gothic subculture would know.

set. 9, 2011, 4:26pm

I lied, one more attempt because it is probably not Southern Death Cult. My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult?

set. 9, 2011, 4:27pm

No. But thanks! I am now determined more than ever to dig out this archaeological specimen!

The years are 1990, 1991, 1992...

set. 9, 2011, 4:30pm

6/12 > Black Tape for a Blue Girl?

set. 9, 2011, 4:30pm

Oh, and I'm pretty much ignorant of the flavours of non-classical musicks. So, no, I can't tell what species this group belonged to--all I remember is that a colleague of mine who affected dark clothes, dark makeup, spiky haircuts and talked about death and mayhem a lot, loved them. Dissonant more than harmonious, for sure. No violins and harps. Lots of screaming.

set. 9, 2011, 4:31pm


No! Thanks!

set. 9, 2011, 5:16pm

Did some trawling on the Net--this is going to take longer than I thought. My Dying Bride is sort of in the ballpark with the general feeling of the title, but it's not it. It would have been a very specialised interest, very small following.

Where and how does one research the totally obscure stuff?

set. 9, 2011, 6:14pm

#4 - Hah! I wonder if I wasn't seeing the wood for the trees - opera as an offshoot of the Gothic!? Or, perhaps, opera as the 'Gothic genre' of classical music?

set. 9, 2011, 6:26pm

Whoaaaa I need to give this thread some time when I get home from rehearsal! I'll be back with something to say, believe me! :D

set. 9, 2011, 6:36pm

#2 - I'm not at all familiar with Robert le Diable so I've just looked it up. The very first grand opera and it just couldn't not be regarded as Gothic! Looking at it on Wikipedia, there's even a backdrop from the original performance with Gothic arches on it. Surely the people involved must have had a sense - however they categorised it - of being allied to the literary tradition coming down from The Castle of Otranto and the like?

set. 11, 2011, 10:14am

Listening to a discussion on BBC Radio 3 yesterday (for non-Brits, it's basically a classical music station; also, offhand I can't remember the particular programme - I listen a lot), I was intrigued to hear one of the participants make the point that, in nineteenth-century Britain at least, opera was regarded as a little - shall we say - 'downmarket'. She mentioned how the rising middle-classes were very keen on self-improvement (and pathologically obsessed with class and status, which would have had a bearing, but she didn't mention that) and regarded 'serious' orchestral music as much worthier of their attention. It was also pointed out that the numerous companies that were touring operas round the country couldn't have been profitable if they hadn't been drawing in large numbers of the 'lower orders'.

So I suspect that for that period we could class opera as 'popular culture' rather than 'elite culture'.

I can't cite chapter and verse at the moment, but I've got the impression from my reading that the Gothic has clear parallels, here (a bit downmarket and not quite respectable, etc.)

I'm sure that with a bit of research I could make a decent argument that opera and Gothic literature were intimately connected strands of the same set of social and cultural developments; but I find it difficult to believe that some academic hasn't already done this somewhere or other. I suppose both are quite tangled up with the Romantic movement and it's on that aspect that academics have mostly focussed as regards to opera (that's all I can remember reading, anyway).

Of course, looking at what I've just written, the flaw is that all the operas above are products of non-English-speaking countries. It's frustrating: the more I read and learn, the more I realise how well-read I am not! To look at opera, I really need to know something about the Gothic in Germany, Italy and France and about the social status of opera in those countries and about the cultural interrelationships between the English-speaking and Continental countries. It's typical of my level of organisation that I bought (and read, but if there was anything relevant I've obviously forgotten it) David Punter's The Gothic not long ago but since I started this thread I haven't been able to find the damn thing.

Going back to my OP, what I'd really love to find is that there was some 19thC composer of the English-speaking world being directly inspired by, say, Edgar Allen Poe.

set. 11, 2011, 3:24pm

I'm sure that with a bit of research I could make a decent argument that opera and Gothic literature were intimately connected strands of the same set of social and cultural developments; but I find it difficult to believe that some academic hasn't already done this somewhere or other. I suppose both are quite tangled up with the Romantic movement and it's on that aspect that academics have mostly focussed as regards to opera (that's all I can remember reading, anyway).

Paul, you fascinate me. I don't think that that particular argument has been posed, or if it has it's probably just sunken into the collective mire of Romantic studies. I think the Gothic deserves seperate critical attention (which, since the 1950s or so, I think it has), which would include, however reaching, a discussion of its parallel developments in non English-speaking countries (although, of course, our language has a bit of a monopoly on the Gothic, despite the influence and output of, say, Germany). I'd find, like all your comments, your thoughts on the 'intimately connected strands of the same set of social and cultural developments' really interesting. If you ever get around to it, let me know!

set. 13, 2011, 3:58pm

Revision of search--now I think that the word I vaguely remember wasn't BRIDE or BRIDES, but CRIME.


That'll narrow it down, I'm sure.

set. 13, 2011, 4:25pm

Crime and the City Solution is a name I know, but that's the extent of it.

set. 13, 2011, 4:48pm

#22 - ... the word I vaguely remember wasn't BRIDE or BRIDES, but CRIME.

Obviously somewhere in your subconscious that old joke - something about the marrying being the crime and the marriage the life-sentence?

set. 14, 2011, 12:07pm

Crime and the City Solution



set. 14, 2011, 12:09pm

Ahh--the Nick Cave associations are apparently spot-on!

Parallels have been drawn between Crime and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

set. 14, 2011, 12:10pm

It's all falling in place--they had an album called THE BRIDE SHIP!

Editat: set. 14, 2011, 12:18pm

I could never get into Nick Cave. Musically or literally.

I do love some of the British gothic stuff though, like Sisters of Mercy, Southern Death Cult and Bauhaus...

I think in a lot of contemporary music you see a lot of (contemporary) gothic literature influences, especially from people like Lovecraft, but I see your point on not really associating 'gothic music' with the 19th century.

What depresses me about >1 alaudacorax: is that I totally forgot it was prom season and didn't go to a single one this year :( I went to several last year. Oh well, I have tickets for other events at the Albert Hall later in the year.

ETA: I used to live round the corner from where My Dying Bride recorded (among others). They're fairly obscure in themselves, but a totally different type of gothic music to the 80s stuff.

set. 14, 2011, 12:29pm

I guess Nick Cave was popular enough that an ignoramus like myself had heard (of) him! Or maybe it was merely a verbal connexion.

So, I guess that's what was playing that night, at that party--The Bride Ship!

set. 26, 2011, 10:52am

#20 & #21 - The more I think about this and the more I wade through Punter & Byron and The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction, the more I'm coming to see a clear continuity between 18th and 19thC opera and Gothic fiction (not all opera, admittedly, but a large proportion).

The way I see it, 'elite' work, whether the music of Beethoven or Haydn or the poetry of Keats or Shelley, got labelled as Romantic; more sensationalist literature that was more or less disapproved of by the elite got labelled Gothic. Then there followed a strong tendency for literature that we would call Gothic, but which has, over time, achieved elite status - Frankenstein, perhaps, certainly the Byron poems we've looked at in the reading threads - to be labelled Romantic. While this has been going on, opera has risen from being a slightly downmarket inferior of classical orchestral work to having elite status. So, while so much opera is clearly part and parcel of the same cultural movement as Gothic literature, its elite status stops it being treated as such - it's elite so it must be labelled Romantic. I think there's probably an element of inverted snobbery in this, also - because Gothic literature has this downmarket element, it's a more politically-correct field of study - an advantage which opera, perhaps, doesn't have.

I'm aware that I haven't actually made the argument for why I think much opera is clearly part of the Gothic genre. I'm working on it! I'm working on it!

Editat: set. 26, 2011, 11:13am

Hmm! Gothic Opera!

Carmen the Vampire; The Butcher of Seville; Nosferatu and Juliet; ...

set. 26, 2011, 11:37am

Oh, the bit I forgot to put in #30:

I started this thread thinking of orchestral music influenced by the Gothic, wondering if there were nineteenth-century works directly influenced by Mary Shelley or M. G. Lewis or Poe or so forth.

I suppose it follows from #30 that there aren't going to be any - at least none really Gothic in nature. Although a safely Romantic Manfred might be tackled by a composer of Tchaikovsky's status, The Monk or Frankenstein would probably have been a bit too far beyond the pale. I still like to think, though, that some unsung, decadent genius starving in some 19thC garret left some wonderfully chilling manuscript of Roderick Usher's music which is just lying around covered in dust somewhere, waiting to be discovered.

set. 26, 2011, 11:54am

#31 - Hah!

Last Saturday's 'Opera on 3' was Gounod's Faust (plenty Gothic, again). I enjoyed it very much and it prompted me to check out some other productions on YouTube. I found the finale of one with Darina Takova as Marguerite. I'm damned if they didn't actually chop her head off - in close-up! I was concentrating on the music and not paying much attention to the picture and it didn't half give me a shock. Very cleverly done.

set. 26, 2011, 9:23pm

>31 pgmcc:


>32 alaudacorax:

I still like to think, though, that some unsung, decadent genius starving in some 19thC garret left some wonderfully chilling manuscript of Roderick Usher's music which is just lying around covered in dust somewhere, waiting to be discovered.

That could have the makings of a fabulous short story...

set. 27, 2011, 7:41am

That could have the makings of a fabulous short story...

I look forward to reading it when you have it finished.

set. 29, 2011, 8:21pm

How about:

Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique, particularly the last two movements, "March to the Scaffold" and "Sabbath Night's Dream". '"March to the Scaffold" reports the artist's attempted suicide, his dreams of killing the woman he loved and his death by the guillotine; and "Sabbath Night's Dream" finds him among spirits, sorcerers and monsters, preparing for his own funeral.' (quoting from Robert Cowan's notes to the version I own: free with BBC Music Magazine, recorded 1993).

Also, Ravel - Gaspard de la nuit. Three movements about a seductive water spirit, a corpse hanging from a gibbet, and a sinister dwarf or hobgoblin (I don't know the original poem that inspired this piece, so I can't be precise).

Paul Dukas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Modest Mussorgsky - A Night on Bald Mountain (yes, both from Disney's "Fantasia"!)

I learned today that Debussy was working on two Poe operas - "The Devil in the Belfry" and "The Fall of the House of Usher". Both were left incomplete but "Usher", at least, has been recorded.

set. 30, 2011, 9:20am

#36 - Fascinating post, houseful.

Your mention of the two Debussy-Poe operas was a revelation to me. I was completely unaware of them - something else for me to follow up.

On the earlier composers, it's on my 'to do list' to find out about the Gothic or its equivalents in the non-English-speaking world. I wish I could go back and ask Mussorgsky and Berlioz what they read in their off-time. I wonder whether they saw themselves as writing purely against a background of the old folk-tales of witchcraft and such or against a contemporary literary background based on that stuff - i.e. the Gothic or an equivalent.

I wasn't really familiar with 'Gaspard de la nuit' and I've been listening to Martha Argerich over on YouTube - tremendous stuff, so thanks for that. But now I'm eager to know more about the original, Bertrand poem and what its literary context is. There's at least one English translation, apparently.

On a tangent, I've long promised myself a DVD of 'Fantasia' if and when I ever get round to buying myself a proper, grown-up telly (long story - don't ask) and I especially love the 'Bald Mountain' segment. I'm not sure if anything can really compare to seeing that in a cinema, though - extraordinary experience. Incidentally, in my youth it was supposedly the 'ultimate experience' to watch 'Fantasia' (no choice but to watch it in a cinema in those days, of course) while dropping acid. Never did it or met anyone who claimed to have, so I don't know if that's apocryphal - can't imagine what it would do to you.

oct. 9, 2011, 2:48pm

>37 alaudacorax:

Since my last post I've bought an English translation of Gaspard de la Nuit by Donald Sidney-Fryer. A passage in the long introductory essay points to an art form - and a type of musical drama - that was clearly influenced by the Gothic/Romantic - ballet.

Here's the quote: "The affinity of "Gaspard de la Nuit" with the picturesque. otherwordly, and quintessentially French ballet theatre of the 1830s, with "La Sylphide", "Le Diable boiteux", "Le Diable amoureux" and other dance dramas of the same decade, are apparent at once, no less than with the ballet theatre of the 1840s, with "Giselle", "Ondine", "Esmeralda", "Eoline", "Catarina", "Lalla Rookh", "Faust" and "La Filleule des fées", those inspired masterpieces by the great ballet-master Jules Perrot."

Another avenue of Gothic art and sensibility to investigate, and one that I hadn't thought of, despite knowing that "Coppelia" was based on ETA Hoffmann's The Sandman.

oct. 9, 2011, 3:21pm

Further to that last message, it's occurred to me that ballet used to be an integral part of French opera, so you may have known about this already.

oct. 9, 2011, 7:40pm

Of course, now you mention it, ballet is full of evil spirits and witches and mortals falling in love with supernatural creatures and so on. I just hadn't made the connections. This also seems to edge onto a wide, not clearly-demarcated range running through fairy tales, folk tales, Gothic tales. To stick to the only two in your quote which I've actually seen (or heard of, to be honest): while the story for 'Ondine' could be classed as fairy tale, one could probably class 'Giselle' as being as Gothic a tale as you could get.

The subject just keeps getting bigger and bigger and I'm starting to feel overwhelmed!

Actually, whereas when I joined this group I was thinking of the Gothic as a slightly obscure branch of literature, now I'm coming to see it as one of the fundamental strands of popular culture (at least in the western world).

oct. 22, 2011, 11:52am

BBC Radio has given me two more:
Mozart: Don Giovanni. Of course! Dark, brooding score, connection to Byron (Don Juan), supernatural ending.
Gilbert & Sullivan: Ruddigore. Broadcast today in the Opera on 3 slot on Radio 3.

Plus, Florent Schmitt (1870-1958), Le Palais Hanté, Op. 49, "etude pour le palais hanté d"Edgar Poe".

oct. 24, 2011, 7:23pm

And some more:

Schubert Lieder, specifically "Erlkonig" and the whole of "Winterreise". There must be a lot more potential candidates.

oct. 25, 2011, 6:32am

#42 - There must be a lot more potential candidates.

Yes, I'm starting to realise that now - it seems that not a day goes by when I don't hear something on Radio 3 apposite to thread. Very rarely from the English-speaking world, though.

oct. 31, 2011, 2:01pm

I've just heard a clip from something right on the button of my OP: the opera Der Vampyr by Heinrich Marschner, first performed in 1828. According to Wikipedia (, it was based on a stage version of Polidori's The Vampyre.

Actually, being Hallowe'en, there's quite a Gothic feel to BBC Radio 3 today. They're playing the 'Witches' Sabbath' from Symphonie Fantastique as I write.

oct. 31, 2011, 7:27pm

44> I had a quick look for the Marschner opera on Google, and was reminded that the BBC had produced an English-language and updated version about 20 years ago: "The Vampyre: a Soap Opera". I think Janet Street-Porter had a hand in it.

It looks like the whole thing is, for the moment at least, uploaded on YouTube (with Spanish(?) subtitles).

43> As to why there's little from the English-speaking world, isn't it because the subject matter wasn't thought fitting for "High Art"? Wuthering Heights has been described (I can't remember where I saw the quote) as the ONLY truly Romantic novel in English. The classics of 19th Century Horror literature was written for a middle-class magazine-reading audience (Sweeney Todd and Varney, the Vampyre, for a working-class or lower middle-class audience - remember illiterate people could be read to by friends, workmates, family).

nov. 2, 2011, 4:09pm

>7 LolaWalser:,
When you say BRIDES, do you maybe mean Black Veil Brides?

nov. 2, 2011, 4:10pm

>9 LolaWalser:
My daddys British!!!

nov. 19, 2011, 7:34am

I'm listening - right now- to a 45-minute documentary on BBC Radio 3 entitled 'The Devil in Music'. Here's the synopsis in 'Radio Times': 'Composer Christopher Young (The Grudge, Drag Me to Hell) discovers the history of musical scare tactics - including the relationship between the Devil and the violin - with musical examples from Weber, Mozart, Liszt and Wagner and contributions by musicologist Maiko Kawabata, violinist Philippe Quint, Anthony Pryer, lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, and John Deathridge, King Edward Professor of Music at King's College, London'.

I expect it will be available online for a week or so, but probably only within the UK.

Editat: nov. 19, 2011, 11:10am

Is the iplayer only available in the UK? I've been occasionally posting links under the impression that anyone could get them. Here's 'The Devil in Music' if any non-UK member would like to try it and let us know if it works:

ETA - It's up for seven days at the time of posting.

gen. 5, 2012, 9:32am

As I write, BBC Radio 3 is playing a recording of Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle. Proper Gothic, this one, with dark secrets and locked rooms - it even has damp walls which the heroine eventually realises are actually running with blood!

Coincidentally (or not, perhaps), a couple of days ago they played Dukas's Ariane and Bluebeard, but I thought that a much lighter and milder version of the tale.

Incidentally, listening to the Bartok (composed in 1911-12 and a new ending in 1917), I'm sure I'm hearing where a lot of horror- and thriller-film music composers got their inspiration.

gen. 5, 2012, 2:47pm

Music of the gothic period (12th-16th Centuries, the period much Gothic literature harks back to) isn't usually spooky or scary, however...

Maybe 15 years ago I was listening to a late-night Proms concert, on headphones. It was a piece by Hildegard of Bingen, I think it was Ordo Virtutum, "a nonliturgical sacred music drama...sung in plainchant" (A History of Western Music (5th edition)), but I hadn't, at the time, looked up what was being performed.

So I was listening to these gentle, slow-moving melodies sung by female voices, dropping off to sleep, and then a guttural male voice started shouting in Latin! Naturally I jumped out of my skin.

What was going on? Here's the full quotation: "a nonliturgical sacred music drama in which all parts but the Devil's are sung in plainchant."

Editat: gen. 5, 2012, 7:59pm

#51 - Fascinating post, houseful. I have one CD of Hildegard's music but I was completely unaware of that piece. I'm listening to a clip on YouTube as I write but, sadly, I think I've hit on one with a particularly restrained Devil. I shall keep searching.

ETA - I was remiss in not thanking you for pointing me towards it. I've been quite fascinated by the CD I have ('A Feather on the Breath of God') and have been intending to explore more of her music, so your post is quite timely for me.

març 2, 2012, 7:33pm

> 52

Any luck finding a scary devil yet? I saw a Youtube clip of the "Wolf's Glen" scene from Der Freischütz and the staging was resolutely non-scary.

Anyway, I have another candidate for Gothic Music - Gothic Opera, in fact. Right subject matter but wrong period - Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw. I got the 2010 re-release of the 2002 recording (Mahler Chamber Orchestra, conductor Daniel Harding) this week. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.

In fact, I haven't even read the Henry James story yet, but The Innocents (Jack Clayton's 1961 film version) is terrific (in more than one sense).

The UK DVD from the BFI includes another ghost story. This is Clayton's 1955 short The Bespoke Overcoat, which is apparently based on a Nikolai Gogol story by way of a Wolf Mankowitz play, which moves the story to the Jewish East End.

Editat: març 3, 2012, 3:04pm

#53 - No, I never did track down the scary devil. Thanks for reminding me - I'd intended to have a good look for that.

I'm afraid I'm not a fan of The Turn of the Screw. I've tried and tried but I really can't get on with Britten. I really don't know why - it's not as if there's anything really difficult in there - I mean, it's not Stockhausen or something; but it just rubs me up the wrong way. A large part of the time I have the radio on to BBC Radio 3 in the background (for non-Brits, it's a mainly classical music station) and many times I've suddenly become aware that some piece of music is getting on my nerves, to find at the end that it's some Britten piece with which I was previously unfamiliar.

I was going to write something about it not helping that it's my impression that Radio 3 plays Britten every damn day while I can wait months between pieces of Vaughan Williams or Bax or Delius, but I tend to go on and on about these things once I start and it's rather off-topic anyway, so I won't.

Editat: març 4, 2012, 11:49am

It's humourous more than sinister, but I love Dvorak's take on Hell in Kate and the Devil.

març 25, 2012, 2:14pm

I've come to the conclusion that Gothic literature (or its near-relatives in Germany, France, etc) had such an influence on music that it's a real sin that music doesn't feature in any of the lit-crit I've read so far.

I recently bought The Longman Anthology of Gothic Verse. A translation of Goethe's The Erl-King is in there. BBC Radio 3 is currently having a Schubert festival, playing everything Schubert did over eight days. You've guessed it - I've just heard Schubert's setting of The Erl-King.

abr. 19, 2012, 7:07pm

BBC Radio 3 tends to get a bit odd this time of night. I've just found myself listening to a piece called 'The Carpathians', from the album 'By The Throat' by Ben Frost.

Um ... and having written that, I really don't know what to say ...

It's on YouTube.

abr. 19, 2012, 9:21pm

I am always so jealous that we do not have something like the BBC in the US.

abr. 21, 2012, 12:20pm

I missed the setting of The Yellow Wallpaper yesterday and it doesn't seem to be on BBC iPlayer (the rest of the concert is). Did anyone hear it? Was it any good?

> 57
I haven't been listening to Late Junction so much of late, so thanks for mentioning this. I listened on YouTube, and I quite enjoyed it.

> 58
I'm certainly aware of the BBC's value. Sadly, the fact that it's paid for by a compulsory licence fee means that there's always political pressure on it from the Right. And, because it is inter alia an investigative news service that holds those in power to account (or, at least it should) it gets pressure from the Left as well.

(It would be more equitable to pay for the BBC direct from income tax, but of course no Chancellor could be trusted not to divert the money elsewhere.)

(With regard to the BBC and how it's paid for I know it's not perfect but, recalling the Churchill quote about democracy, it's better than any of the alternatives on offer.)

set. 23, 2012, 5:48pm

I hope you can - wherever you are - access the music files on the above web page.

The background, as the page makes clear, was an H. P. Lovecraft-themed event at Reading Central Library in December 2010, which culminated with a showing of the H P Lovecraft Historical Society's 'The Call of Cthulhu' (with complimentary mulled wine* and gingerbread biscuits).

* mulled = warmed in the microwave, but at £3.00 for a 6 hour event only a churl would have complained (no, I didn't complain I was very grateful!)

set. 24, 2012, 3:05pm

Which, in my mind, clearly demonstrates why a vampire shouldn't have (a) soul.

Editat: set. 24, 2012, 3:15pm

Speaking of the H P Lovecraft Historical Society: I must recommend their musical "A Shoggoth on the Roof". It's hysterical.


set. 24, 2012, 3:30pm

Oh, not HPLHS, but still:

Abba will never be the same to you again ;-)

Editat: oct. 11, 2012, 10:33am

Puccini's Turandot is on BBC Radio 3 as I write. I don't remember ever seeing a production, though I've listened to it several times, perhaps many.

But I hadn't realised that the opening scene includes a chorus of the ghosts of previously-topped suitors. And then there's the ancient family secret or curse - is Turandot really the reincarnation of a raped and murdered ancestor?

It's no wonder I've gradually come to the idea that opera should, to a large extent, be regarded as an off-shoot of the Gothic genre.

Incidentally, with Turandot I really have no interest in seeing it, preferring to just enjoy it in terms of the music and singing - 'cos that libretto is just plain sick. But that's a comment for another group, I suppose.

oct. 11, 2012, 12:21pm

> 64

But... opera began in the Renaissance as an attempt to present drama in an 'authentic' Ancient Greek/Roman fashion (and of course got it quite a bit wrong, but created a new art form in the process).

Certainly, 19th Century Romantic opera has a lot of 'overlap' with gothic literature and drama, bearing in mind that the gothic is part of the late 18th/early 19th Romantic movement.

Maybe the simple fact that in opera, the characters sing out their feelings to one another can't help but make opera as a medium 'Romantic'? (not to mention those operas with libretti based on Romantic prose works).

oct. 31, 2012, 4:54am

Being Hallowe'en, BBC Radio 3 is full of such stuff as the Dance Macabre and Symphonie Fantastique this morning - the usual suspects - but I was fascinated to find that there's actually a 'Gothic Suite' - the Suite gothique, Op. 25 (1895) by Léon Boëllmann. It's organ music and sounds pretty much the kind of stuff the Phantom of the Opera might have played in the old black and white films.

maig 12, 2013, 7:50pm

I'm still surprised this thread hasn't devolved into a discussion of, say, Bauhaus. To that end, incidentally, I'm off to go night-clubbing with the black nail varnish set in about six hours. You'd be surprised how many of these people have read Radcliffe or Maturin: even more surprised at how many of them are willing to discuss it mid-spin over the moaning, drum-machine heavy strains of 'Lucretia, My Reflection' or 'Baby Turns Blue'...

But, as I've brought it up, perhaps a discussion of the Gothic imagination in the music of Siouxsie and the Banshees or Joy Division or Sisters of Mercy wouldn't be entirely remiss...

Or maybe I'm just a strange Jourdain. :P

maig 22, 2013, 6:45pm

I'm old enough to have been an original early-80's Goth but I was too timid (to be fair, the skinheads and casuals in Reading back then were pretty fearsome and I never was a fast runner).

I've retained an affection for Bauhaus, but the indie scene (we never called it that) went jangly (sort of unacknowledged neo-folky) and then it went dancy...and I wondered off and started listening to early music.

juny 1, 2013, 7:14pm

Gothic music... I'm a featherweight, tiptoeing around the classical masters mentioned here and preferring Siouxsie and Nick Cave. Bauhaus I don't care much for - a bit camp, a waste of potential. I do adore Peter Murphy's solo work, though there's nothing goth going on there.

Speaking of early music: Azam Ali interpreting the music of the troubadours has, for me, a gothic splendor of its own.

juny 1, 2013, 7:26pm


I do adore Peter Murphy's solo work, though there's nothing goth going on there.

Really? When I'm jammin to 'Cuts You Up' on the dance floor, I'm certainly in the goth mood... Atmosphere? Perhaps not. Content? I think so...

Nonetheless, Siouxsie fans are better. ;)

juny 1, 2013, 7:44pm

> 69

I didn't know anything about Azam Ali; thanks for the link. I know there's an ongoing academic debate about how much, or how little, influence middle eastern musical culture had on medieval european music. Nevertheless, it definitely works artistically in modern reconstructions. Here's a track I've had on CD for 20 years but the recording is about twice as old:

juny 6, 2013, 11:57pm

71: Early music and world music are avenues I have not explored nearly well enough. It is such an historically and culturally immersive experience that I find it quite draining. Same with classical music. They require background research and compulsive re-listening before I "get" all but the most melodic pieces. I'll keep an eye out for more Thomas Binkley.

Another of my favorites other than Azam Ali would be Ensemble Sarband. My favorite of their albums is "Sepharad" but it's not been uploaded on YouTube, more's the pity. Here's one from their "Satie en Orient."

juny 10, 2013, 9:50am

Brilliant, a thread that can encompass modern Goth and medieval music! I was introduced to classical music by Bugs Bunny (seriously), but love Lacrimosa and Nightwish along with older stuff like Bauhaus and Sisters. But I do also love medieval music. Very strong middle eastern influence in that video 72!

juny 10, 2013, 1:50pm

> 72

I somehow missed your post until now. That's a very interesting take on Satie. I don't suppose there's very much in the Western canon that would be sympathetic to that kind of treatment. Some Debussy, maybe.

Editat: set. 3, 2013, 8:57am

I've just been listening to an excerpt from 'The Spectre's Bride', by Antonin Dvorak - a choral piece from the 1880s. It seems to be a take on the widespread folk-tale of the dead loved one reclaiming his or her still-living betrothed. I'm not familiar with it, but there was stuff in there about him pursuing his betrothed and trying to persuade her to throw away her bible, and it seems to be much more complex than the simple folk-tale set to music as in, for instance, Schubert's 'Der Erlkönig'/'Erlking'. But does that make it 'Gothic'?

Since starting this thread, I've come to realise that there was a quite a lot of this kind of stuff around, but I've yet discover something I can tie in as definitely Gothic, as opposed to simply Romantic. The trouble is that I still have no idea how I'd define Gothic music other than as something that was explicitly based on a work generally accepted as Gothic literature (and I still find it surprising that there aren't floating round lots of nineteenth-century, Poe short story cantatas or Mary Shelley or Le Fanu operas).

set. 9, 2013, 5:21pm

> 75

Wasn't the gothic seen as just a bit too low-brow, middle class, "women's stuff", for "high art"? One might make an exception for Frankenstein (the novel) but not the stage adaptations that quickly followed its publication.

I think the earlier posts here show that all the elements of gothic were present in serious orchestral music and opera (especially Wagner, I'd suggest), but they just weren't assembled in such a way that they created a work unequivocally "gothic".

In the 20th century, orchestral music allowed itself to be "ugly" enough to reflect the terrors of the gothic, and the surrealists took an interest in the gothic novel.

At the same time, though, "high art" skipped up to another level of elitist withdrawal from popular or mass culture, so there is no "programme music" based on Poe, Le Fanu, or whoever. But at the same time, we saw serious music used to good effect in horror films, from freshly-composed scores by composers such as James Bernard or John Williams, to directors using pre-existing works by, e.g. Penderecki.

set. 16, 2013, 4:14pm


I think the earlier posts here show that all the elements of gothic were present in serious orchestral music and opera ... but they just weren't assembled in such a way that they created a work unequivocally "gothic".

Yes - I think that's it exactly. Wish I'd thought of those words first.

But at the same time, we saw serious music used to good effect in horror films, from freshly-composed scores by composers such as James Bernard or John Williams, to directors using pre-existing works by, e.g. Penderecki.

I've been much enjoying BBC Radio 3's 'Sound of Cinema' season. An hour or so back, listening to music that turned out to be Franz Waxman's for 'The Bride of Frankenstein', I decided that composers did do Gothic music, after all - it was just that they were a century or so late in getting round to it. I think it's fair to say that a lot of 20th century film music linked back to the Romantic era, rather than to what was going on in contemporary 'serious' music. If we consider Gothic to be 'Dark Romantic' (a phrase I've come across in the last couple of days' reading and now I can't remember where), a lot of the music written for 'darker' movies - horror, thrillers, sci-fi - or darker passages in other movies - fits neatly under the label 'Gothic', I feel.

Editat: set. 16, 2013, 4:33pm

#25, #27 - I've finally got round to listening to that piece - 'The Bride Ship'.

It's an intriguing piece of music. I don't know what I actually think about it - but it's an intriguing piece of music.

set. 17, 2013, 5:37am

#75 & #77
I think the earlier posts here show that all the elements of gothic were present in serious orchestral music and opera ... but they just weren't assembled in such a way that they created a work unequivocally "gothic".

Forgive me, but that quote reminded me of the Eric Morecambe sketch in which he was pretending to be concert pianist. He said he could play all the notes, but not necessarily in the right order.

set. 17, 2013, 6:13am

... said, nose to nose, to 'Andrew Preview' (aka André Previn) ...

set. 17, 2013, 6:55am

#80 That's the one.


set. 17, 2013, 6:42pm

"He won't sell many ice creams going at that speed".

set. 18, 2013, 3:57am

#82 You're taking me back. I loved Eric Morecambe's humour.

"Cough! Arsenal"

març 1, 2014, 7:06am

This doesn't add anything to the thread, I'm afraid, but I've just been listening to reviews of recordings of Richard Strauss and I don't think you could find anything that fits more neatly in with the Gothic Literature genre than his Elektra. Just read the synopsis on Wikipedia.

oct. 11, 2014, 2:22pm

There’s a CD compilation available from the British Library to tie in with their autumn exhibition, “Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination”. There are no real surprises or discoveries here, unfortunately. Anyway, here’s the track listing:

Hector Berlioz:
Two movements from Symphonie Fantastique: March to the Scaffold; Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath
Felix Mendelssohn:
Funeral March – Song without Words in E minor
Johann Strauss II: 
Die Fledermaus – Overture
Maurice Ravel: 
The Gibbet from Gaspard de la Nuit
Hector Berlioz:
Rakoczy March from The Damnation of Faust
Franz Liszt: 
Death Dance – Andante, Allegro and Allegro moderato
Franz Schubert:
Death and the Maiden – Scherzo
Frederic Chopin:
Funeral March – Piano sonata in B flat minor
Paul Dukas:
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Overture

Much more eclectic is a cover-mounted CD on this month’s Mojo Magazine, complied by Siouxsie Sioux and Steve Severin. Not strictly Gothic, it’s a collection of “the key influences in her (Siousie’s) musical development. It’s heavy on the kitsch but atmospheric almost-Jazz that embodies a mythical sort of 50’s America, or 50’s Hollywood.

The track listing gives the performer rather than the composer. I think this is simply the Mojo house style, but it’s especially valid here as, often, it’s arrangement that gives that particular feel to the piece.

Marty Manning and his Orchestra:
The Twilight Zone
Dimitri Mitropoulos’ New York Philharmonic Orchestra:
Suite one - Romeo and Juliet - Montagues and Capulets (Prokofiev)
The Shadows:
Man of Mystery
Lotte Lenya, Roger Bean and his Orchestra:
Surabaya-Johnny (from "Happy End" (Brecht/Weil))
Barry Gray and his Spacemakers:
Zero G (a version of the theme to Fireball XL5)
Buddy Morrow and his Orchestra:
Perry Mason Theme
Frank Sinatra:
Night and Day
The John Barry Seven and Orchestra:
The James Bond Theme (from Dr. No)
Frank Ifield:
Bernard Herrmann:
Vertigo - prelude and rooftop
Francois Poulenc:
Gymnopedie No. 1 (I don’t think this is a different arrangement of Satie’s piece, it’s simply that Poulenc’s the pianist on this recording)
Siouxsie and the Banshees:
Trust in Me (a cover version from Disney’s Jungle Book)
Leopold Stokowski:
A Night on Bare Mountain
Cliff Edwards and the Disney Studio Chorus:
When You Wish Upon a Star

gen. 10, 2015, 4:44pm

The Tyburn Tree: Dark London (2013)

John Harle/Marc Almond

In subject matter this CD - somewhere between a song cycle and a concept album, in a variety of styles that encompass prog rock, modern jazz and Brechtian cabaret - is certainly Gothic, but do the musical idioms rule it out of consideration?

The song titles give ample indication of the subject: "The Tyburn Tree", "Spring Heeled Jack", "Ratcliffe Highway", "The Vampire of Highgate". One track features the voice of Iain Sinclair reading one of his London psychogeography poems on an artfully-distressed tape, as if it was a vintage recording of Ginsburg or Kerouac at the birth of Beat..if I have a problem with this album, this typifies it. Everything's a little too on the nose, as if Disney were creating a theme park version of the "Dark London" that's been bubbling away since, I guess, Sinclair in the 70s and Peter Ackroyd in the 80s.

There are a few songs from the album on YouTube, but most of them consist of bootleg phone footage from live performances.

feb. 15, 2015, 4:59pm

In the "below the line" comments under a list of "10 of the best musical ghosts" article in the Guardian newspaper (online version), somebody mentioned two works for piano by Kaikhosru Sorabji inspired by M. R. James. "Quære reliqua hujus materiei inter secretiora"(The Treasure of Abbott Thomas) and "St Bertrand Comminges: "He was laughing in the tower"" (Canon Alberic's Scrap-book).

I understand from some, fairly superficial, online research that Sorabji's music meets the popular image of 20th-century classical music: technically challenging to play, a lot of notes, perhaps not so much in the way of a hummable tune. Although I haven't actually heard either of these works in full, I have been able to hear snippets, as a recent recording can be previewed on iTunes.

feb. 17, 2015, 8:14am

>87 housefulofpaper:

Fascinating link, houseful - quite apart from Sorabji - so much so that my morning has disappeared!

Couldn't find the pieces you mention, but, from the Wikipedia page, he sounds a fascinating character - recluse, mystic and occultist (at least in his earlier years), who found Crowley "the dullest of dull dogs". Never heard of him before your post, but I find the pieces I've been listening to this morning rather more interesting than the general run of his superficially similar contemporaries. I'm listening to his 'Opus Secretum' as I write - what's the story behind that, I wonder? Why would a man who didn't publish and forbad performance of his work call a particular piece 'secret work'?

There's definitely the inspirations for a Gothic tale, here ...

feb. 17, 2015, 6:31pm

>88 alaudacorax:

I think I'd at least heard of Sorabji, in my mind he's linked with the late pianist John Ogden. Maybe Radio 3 re-broadcast a performance. It would have been quite a while ago, perhaps when the biopic starring Alfred Molina as Ogden had created some media attention. I don't, however, recall what, if any, information, was provided about Sorabji. I'd like to find out more, not about him necessarily, but a out the milieu he moved in - how would he have met Crowley and decided he was a "dull dog", for example?

The two M. R. James pieces, by the way, are on a three-CD set entitled "Legendary Works for Piano", pianist Michael Habermas, the label is British Music Society.

ag. 24, 2015, 8:23am

Just been listening to Scriabin's Piano Sonata no.9 - 'The Black Mass' - said to have been inspired by his 'fascination with the occult' - on a BBC Radio 3 broadcast from the BBC Proms.

Never heard of this before and I have to say it didn't sound particularly satanic to me - but that may just have been my reaction to this particular performance. The Wikipedia page for it talks about '... the sense of distant mysterious wailing which grows in force and menace ... The opening theme is constantly transformed, from the early trill arpeggio's sounding unsettling and then completely shifting, eventually tumbling in rapid cascades into a grotesque march ... Scriabin builds a continuous structure of mounting complexity and tension, and pursues the combination of themes with unusual tenacity, eventually reaching a climax as harsh as anything in his music ...'

ag. 24, 2015, 3:01pm

>90 alaudacorax:

I've had this piece on at least one CD, an all-Scriabin disc from 2007 played by Yevgeny Sudbin. I had a listen to it this afternoon, and I listened to the BBC Proms performance just now.

Based on a cursory internet search the Sudbin disc seems to have got good reviews. I can't say my ears noticed a massive difference between the two performances, but I'd agree I didn't get scared listening to it; I didn't get a sense of evil.

Maybe this is a case where you have to really try to put yourself in a world where Scriabin is possibly the most way-out sound you could have heard: before the Second Viennese School, before Bebop, before electric amplification, before the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, before Heavy Metal, etc...

oct. 25, 2015, 8:15am

BBC Radio 3's 'Opera on 3' next Saturday is about as Gothic as they come - Mascagni's Guglielmo Ratcliff. There's a tortured, villainous anti-hero in love with - or lusting after - a woman who doesn't want him, duels to the death, a castle, ghosts ...

oct. 25, 2015, 3:52pm

>92 alaudacorax:

I'd never heard of this opera. It's a shame the broadcast clashes with radio play versions of Nigel Kneale's The Stone Tape and the Japanese Novel/Film Ring (Ringu) over on Radio 4.

oct. 26, 2015, 9:25am

>92 alaudacorax:, >93 housefulofpaper:

Hallowe'en is coming up, of course, so there's a lot of this stuff around.

Looking interesting are this week's episodes of The Essay on BBC Radio 3 - a series of five called 'The Further Realm' (Monday to Friday, 10:45pm) - "Novelist Andrew Martin has long been interested in ghosts and their stories, and he gives them much thought over five essays ..."

oct. 26, 2015, 1:32pm

>92 alaudacorax:

Never heard or seen this opera; never seen the film Raging Bull. Just heard the Act 3 Intermezzo on Radio 3; the presenter said, "Some of you may find the tune a little familiar", but didn't expand. A quick online search showed me that the piece was used in Raging Bull, but I'm not sure if it was that he was referring to, or that it - first performed in 1895 - contains obvious chunks of 'Over the Rainbow'. Like they say, 'there's nothing new under the sun'.

oct. 26, 2015, 1:57pm

>95 alaudacorax: Wow! I didn't know The Wizard of Oz was made before 1895.

oct. 26, 2015, 2:47pm

>96 pgmcc: It's quite obvious that Mascagni must have had a time machine.

nov. 22, 2015, 7:01am

>32 alaudacorax: - I still like to think, though, that some unsung, decadent genius starving in some 19thC garret left some wonderfully chilling manuscript of Roderick Usher's music which is just lying around covered in dust somewhere, waiting to be discovered.

Well, not quite 19thC - from 1904, and I don't know how good his digs were or how well he fed, but this is based on Poe's - that is, Roderick Usher's - The Haunted Palace - Florent Schmitt (1870-1958) : Le Palais hanté, étude symphonique (1904).

Not sure about this - it doesn't exactly 'grab me' and it's not strongly redolent of the poem for me. Though I probably needed to listen to it another time or two before writing that.

nov. 28, 2015, 8:46am

I see the forgotten band was found, but in the process of a search I found this, which is decidedly Goth.

Editat: nov. 28, 2015, 10:13am

>99 Michael333: - Welcome to the group, Michael!

Thinking back, I suspect it's a good thing there wasn't so much musical Gothic angst available to me as a youngster - I can't imagine what kind of states I might have got myself into. I could wallow deeply and bleakly enough on just Leonard Cohen (Country & Western - as it was called then - would have probably fitted the bill, but in my day that would have been beyond the pale as 'old people's music' - definitely wasn't cool).

I think that as we get older we tend to forget how intense and unruly the emotions were in our teens, how extreme the highs and lows and how black bits of it could be. It's almost as if one of the rites of passage of growing up is a compulsory few years suffering from depression.

I still think there should be no legal penalties for kicking people who tell teenagers that school/youth is 'the best days of your life'.

Actually, I found that song sort of blackly cheerful. I think the drummer and bassist were with a different muse. Which should, of course, make the singer even more alienated. Hmmm.

des. 3, 2015, 9:41am

>44 alaudacorax:

I'm listening to another opera by Heinrich Marschner - Hans Heiling.

Again, it's right on the button for my idea of opera as the 'gothic genre of music'.

The presenter on BBC Radio 3 described the character Hans Heiling as both villain and hero and he reads to me as right in the line of Gothic/Romantic hero/villains - Byron's Manfred and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein's monster (or his maker) come to mind. Of course, Wikipedia describes it as a 'Romantic' opera ...

des. 6, 2015, 12:03pm

My ideas of Goth music, or at least Gothic Rock, are stuck in the early 80s.

The Cure - a Forest

des. 6, 2015, 1:51pm

>99 Michael333:

Ah, my search for "Crime & City Solution"?! Yes, that was a great find--and ages later I realised I must have also seen them in Wim Wenders' The sky over Berlin (Wings of desire in English), it's just that the name of the band never registered!

Editat: des. 7, 2015, 3:51pm

>102 housefulofpaper:

It's not rock, but many tracks on Marc Almond's Open all night ("Night & Dark", "Tragedy", "Almost diamonds", "Heart in velvet"...) have a Gothic-Romantic vibe to me. Unfortunately for some reason I can't seem to find on YouTube the versions from the album! and most of the variations are truly awful.

ETA: Hmm, looks like this is the studio "Night & Dark" (ignore the millisecond of MGM lion at the start... and, UGH, awful video! Save your eyes...)

des. 6, 2015, 7:49pm

>104 LolaWalser:

Thanks Lola, I liked that a lot. I've only got a couple of Marc Almond's albums (I mentioned The Tyburn Tree up the thread. I feel now that I was a bit snippy about it) but it looks like there are quite a few on Spotify. I will be investigating...

I'm in two minds as to whether I'd call "Night and Dark" though. it's certainly darkly Romantic but it's not spooky.

Bauhaus, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and so on, all had that sort of chiming '80s post-punk guitar sound which immediately made things a bit creepy and ethereal...spooky. But then, do I want to argue that "spookiness" is the test of whether a work of art is Gothic or not? (Short answer, no, because it couldn't be that simple, could it? ;-))

des. 7, 2015, 3:50pm

>105 housefulofpaper:

Oh, spooky, I suppose not... The atmosphere and the imagery of the songs on the album puts me in mind of loverlorn "Goths"--yes, "dark romantic" fits very well ("Gothic" on the theme of love/sex and death?)

There are a few more songs that would fit from another Marc Almond album (I like it even better, more of "my alley" kind of thing) the "French album", Absinthe, with songs such as The slave, Lost paradise, My little lovers--forsaken innocence, deviant, accursed sexuality, tormented relationships, etc.

des. 8, 2015, 4:30am

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Editat: feb. 16, 2016, 11:08am

I’ve just heard a piece on BBC Radio 3 called ‘Pampeana No. 3’, by the Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983).

My mind has been on Gothic things for the last hour or so (finally getting round to reading the first issue of The Green Book), and this piece struck me from the start and all the way through as quintessentially Gothic-sounding – I could easily imagine it as part of the soundtrack to one of the old Roger Corman films, like 1960’s House of Usher.

There’s a sense of huge scale to the music – I don’t mean in terms of orchestral forces, but of the impression the actual music has on me – and there is a sense of unease running all through, whether by notes being pitched not quite in the most ‘comfortable’ positions or by the larger, slower melodies being undercut by restless quieter strands. There always seems a dark edge in it (‘dark’ and ‘edge’ – is that mixing metaphors?), and a tension.

It would make a great background for reading the wilder bits of Ann Radcliffe, or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the Transylvanian bits of Bram Stoker’s Dracula of an evening.

I’m not at all sure that Ginastra intended me to hear it like that, though, as the title relates to the Argentine pampas. Having said that, I think, from listening to the piece, that it’s quite possible that Ginastera perceived the pampas as ‘sublime’ in the Edmund Burkean sense, which would give a – albeit tenuous – relationship.

Anyway, I've found a recording on YouTube if anyone's interested.

ETA - You might guess from the above that he's a new discovery for me - and I'm a bit excited about it ...

feb. 16, 2016, 11:21am

>108 alaudacorax: Thanks, I'll give that a try.

oct. 18, 2016, 4:32am

I'm listening on BBC Radio 3 as I write to John Ireland's The Forgotten Rite, described on Wikipedia as 'a prelude for orchestra'. It was written in 1913, published in 1918 and inspired by Ireland's reading of Arthur Machen's The Hill of Dreams and The House of Souls. Perhaps background music when I get round to reading one or other. Only lasts about ten minutes, though.

Editat: oct. 22, 2016, 10:12am

A mention on the radio of Rachmaninoff's symphony The Bells, based on a loose translation of Edgar Allan Poe's poem of the same name, had me searching online for more information. I don't think I could class this piece of music as particularly Gothic. However, the website for the piece also mentions the following:

The symphonic poem Nevermore, based on The Raven, composed by Nikolai Myaskovsky in 1909;

The Conqueror Worm, for tenor and orchestra, based on Ligeia, written by Mikhail Gnesin in 1913;

A one-act opera based on The Masque of the Red Death composed in 1896 by Mikhail Andreyevich Ostroglazoff;

A ballet based on The Masque of the Red Death composed in 1922 by Nikolai Tcherepnin.

Searching for info on that last, I find that Tcherepnin also composed a ballet called The Romance of the Mummy (1924).

So - a pile of stuff for me to hunt up ...

oct. 22, 2016, 3:07pm

>111 alaudacorax:

I found this - a suite of the music for Tcherpnin's "Masque of the Red Death" ballet. Late Romantic, would you call it?

oct. 23, 2016, 8:11am

>112 housefulofpaper:

Great catch, Andrew! Thank you. I've just sat here totally absorbed for the last half-hour. I really can't understand why Tcherepnin isn't better known (well ... I'd never heard of him until yesterday, anyway).

Getting it once-removed, as it were, knowing nothing about his ballet (twice-removed, I supposed, assuming Tcherepnin read Poe in translation), is a bit of an obstacle. For instance, the 'Final Struggle ...' bit in 'Final Struggle and Death' leaves me a bit puzzled.

I got a definite sense of menace and doom from it, with the constant reminders of that clock ticking down to midnight. I had no sense of it being in any serious way distanced from the original story or striking any wrong notes (in the metaphoric sense). Of course, my reception of it must be much conditioned by having read the story.

At the same time, I thought it was a beautiful bit of music - I definitely feel I've found an exciting new composer - it's a good day.

nov. 20, 2016, 7:58pm

112, Andrew:

Holy s***, that was fantastic!

I recently moved to San Antonio, TX, from Monterey, CA, (hometown), and have been startled by the polarity of the weather: after the dank, sweltering summer and autumn, it is currently so cold here that I can feel my toes curl up when I step outside for a cigarette. I haven't experienced this kind of wind since I spent a few months visiting Wellington, New Zealand, in (their) winter, 2015. Anyway, I bring all this up because, generally speaking, when it's this cold I dart in and out of my patio door like a kind of hummingbird, light up, and smoke quickly, so that I can pop back inside where it's warm (and avoid the plague of cockroaches that are the true rulers of this city). But I chanced to take my headphones and iPad out with me to listen to a bit of your link: anyway, long story short, I wound up sitting there in my patio chair for the entire length of it. It was very arresting, clearly!

Would love to find more along this line...

nov. 21, 2016, 5:07am

>114 veilofisis:

Never thought of that part of the world as cold. I suppose the old westerns I grew up on were filmed in the summer. Come to think of it, they were probably filmed nearer your hometown.

Editat: nov. 26, 2016, 4:47pm

Awesome thread. I've been digging into Schubert in the last couple of years and, picking up from #42, here's my top 5 gothic Schubert songs:

Auf der Donau (starts as an innocent barcarolle but then we spot some ruins on the shore...)
Totengräbers Heimweh (immensely hair-raising if pulled off right)
Fahrt zum Hades (duh)
Der Doppelgänger (doppelduh)
Die Stadt (perhaps not one of his major songs, but has a singularly eerie atmosphere)

nov. 27, 2016, 1:18pm


off-topic, but strange coincidence: I read your message at the exact same moment this popped up on my playlist this morning!

set. 4, 2017, 6:10pm

>112 housefulofpaper:

That clip of Nicolai Tcherepnin's Masque of the Red Death has disappeared from YouTube.

Searching - unsuccessfully - for a replacement clip, I came across André Caplet's music based on The Masque of the Red Death - He published a harp and string quartet version in 1924, based (I assume) on an orchestral version of 1908. However, whenever I think I've found a clip of the latter it turns out to be of the former.

It's suitably creepy-sounding, but I really couldn't hear as much connection with Poe's story as I heard in Tcherepnin's piece. Or any connection, in fact - it just didn't conjure up the story for me.

set. 29, 2017, 2:19pm

Neat YouTube finds!--the playlists by Wiremux AKA Aradne Wiremux and possibly some other... For example:

The Singing Vagabond Playlist

The Femme Fatale Dark Cabaret Collection

The Grim(m?) Tale Song Collection

The title of this one sounds like a grab-bag of tags for this group:

Folk Noir Dark Country Gothic Americana What Not Playlist

oct. 31, 2017, 7:28am

'Late Junction' at eleven-o-clock tonight on BBC Radio 3 and available online shortly thereafter. The webpage doesn't make it particularly Gothic or horror-ish, but the trailer the radio is currently running is definitely going for that angle.

oct. 31, 2017, 6:34pm

>120 alaudacorax:

Thanks - I would have missed it.

nov. 1, 2017, 7:00am

>121 housefulofpaper:

Oh, stone me! I did miss it! Never mind, I'll catch it online ...

abr. 6, 2018, 10:55am

Michael Balfe's opera Satanella, premiered in 1858, is musically very weak (not sure I'll bother listening to the second CD), but I mention it as something that exists. It caught my attention as based on Jacques Cazotte's Le diable amoureux (hey Andrew--there's sort of a connection to something we talked about regarding Avati's movie!)

Satanella is a demon deputised by the Horned One to fetch him a mortal soul. Jealous women, pirates, thunderbolts, slave auction and singing in English conspire against this fine plan.

Editat: abr. 7, 2018, 6:16am

>123 LolaWalser:

Never heard of it or him, though, on looking online, a number of his songs are familiar to me. Is it a comic opera, tragic, a romance, or what? Not a lot to find online but I found quite a lengthy Gramophone review and it, surprisingly, doesn't make the nature of the beast clear - though it does seem to imply that it's a bit cloyingly sentimental.

abr. 7, 2018, 11:25am

Definitely not tragic, except as music. ;)

The complete recording is on Naxos--a world premiere recording! Conducted by Richard Bonynge.

abr. 9, 2018, 10:07am

Oh well - think I'll give it a miss ...

abr. 9, 2018, 2:28pm

abr. 9, 2018, 3:09pm

Well, it's The Gramophone... a nest of Anglo chauvins. ;)

(I've been a subscriber for decades--find it rather amusing, actually.)

abr. 9, 2018, 4:23pm

alaudacorax - sorry! I hadn't noticed that you'd already referred to that Gramophone review.

>128 LolaWalser: I stuck with BBC Music Magazine. Mainly for the free CD :)

Editat: abr. 9, 2018, 10:04pm

>129 housefulofpaper:

That's not strictly classical, is it? Back in 1993 when I first subscribed to The Gramophone, it was the most opulent all-classical mag (on offer in local Tower Records anyway). And in the US, at least, it came with a sampler CD--I still have a few around...

Interesting founder history too--I still come across Compton Mackenzie's novels occasionally, and mentions of the man in all sorts of places (probably sourced in the local Scottish contingent?) One of those people who seem to have lived 40-hour days.

Editat: abr. 10, 2018, 12:21pm

An attempt to post this on Saturday failed, but it was somehow saved in my files, so here it is, better late than never ... And although many of you may be familiar with both the opera and the book it is based on, this is my first kick at the can for both, so have placed it here for my own future reference. Memory/recall fades in and out, doncha know!

The Opera, by Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor (premiere at Teatro San Carlo, Naples, 1835)
The tale is set in Scotland, which, to artists of the Romantic era, signified a wild landscape on the fringe of Europe, with a culture burdened by a French-derived code of chivalry and an ancient tribal system. Civil War and tribal strife are recurring features of Scottish history, creating a background of fragmentation reflected in both Lucia's family situation and her own fragile psyche.

The design of The Met's production by Mary Zimmerman suggests a 19-century setting, and some of its visual elements are inspired by actual places in Scotland.

The source for this opera was The Bride of Lammermoor, a novel by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).
The book: (per Chapters/Indigo online description)
The plans of Edgar, master of Ravenswood, to regain his ancient family estate from the corrupt Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland are frustrated by his passion for his enemy's beautiful daughter Lucy. First published in 1819, this intricate and searching romantic tragedy offers challenging insights into emotional and sexual politics, and demonstrates the shrewd way in which Scott presented his work as historical document, entertainment, and work of art.

Link to Saturday Afternoon at the Opera on CBC Radio Two:

Link to The Met:

Hearing the opera made me want to read the book! The interviews with the performers were enlightening and lively and delved deeper into their own unique approach to each significant role. The guest conductor was Gareth Morrell.

abr. 10, 2018, 12:28pm

>131 frahealee:

Love the music, but I've never been able to get on with Sir Walter Scott - find him really heavy going.

abr. 10, 2018, 5:15pm

>130 LolaWalser:

It's predominantly classical, salted with a little jazz and world music - basically mirroring the programming choices on BBC Radio 3. The cover-mounted CDs are nearly always complete works, which is where they score over sampler CDs. The editorial line isn't as exalted as Gramophone but it isn't gratingly populist either; again it pretty much mirrors R3 in its depth of treatment of individual composers, music theory (a very little of that!), reviews of new releases.

>131 frahealee:

I haven't read the novel or heard the whole opera. I remember, fairly recently, someone on television pointing out that Donizetti has a very Catholic view of Presbyterian Scotland!

Editat: abr. 11, 2018, 8:23pm

>133 housefulofpaper: Well, on behalf of devout Roman Catholics everywhere, we are sorry if Donizetti had a bash at Scotland. =) The only non-Italian Catholic musical composer I know off the top of my head would be William Byrd (not counting Mozart & J.C.Bach, etc., just UK). Elgar? Knew the name but not the roots until today. Looking forward to Placido Domingo coming up this weekend, with Luisa Miller. Saw him once (concert) at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, a gift from my boss. She gave me one of the highlights of my life. Although born in Madrid, he's the closest to Italian opera that I've encountered. Only in-person opera was Carmen (standing room only, as a college student) at the old O'Keefe. Another top five. This is why listening to them each Saturday transports me. To a galaxy long ago and far away ...

Vincentina Caruso rests in our small town RC cemetery and we love to pretend there is a story she'd share if she could. Sicily. Naples. Pish pash.

Editat: abr. 11, 2018, 4:40pm

>132 alaudacorax: Downloaded 80 classic pieces of literature with my Kobo a few years back, and the only one that seized up was Lady of the Lake. That might be a bad sign.

Editat: abr. 12, 2018, 4:49am

>135 frahealee:

Oh, no problem with the poetry - it's the novels I can't get on with.

I remember getting myself really confused when I was young. I read in one of those old black and yellow 'Teach Yourself ...' books that Sir Walter Scott was a great model example on which to model your prose style - I THOUGHT. I struggled with Sir Walter's stuff for quite a while, eventually deciding that whoever wrote the book must have been bonkers. Then I looked back at it and realised I'd been misremembering - the author had actually said Robert Lous Stevenson!

Editat: abr. 12, 2018, 10:18am

As I write, Vaughan Williams' The Poisoned Kiss is on BBC Radio 3 - an opera of which I was completely unaware.

I'm not sure it counts as Gothic - the introduction made it sound rather Gilbert & Sullivan-ish, and said it has a happy ending, but I mention it here because it's partly based on Rappaccini's Daughter, for which this group has a reading thread and with which I for one was entranced.

It's partly based on The Poison Maid, a short story from The Twilight of the Gods and Other Tales by Richard Garnett. This was published some decades after Rappaccini's Daughter. My first thought was that he'd pinched Hawthorne's story, but I see from Wikipedia that the Hawthorne was probably based on a traditional story that has been traced back to India.

ETA - From Garnett's footnotes - "P. 315. The Poison Maid.—The author wrote this tale in entire forgetfulness of Hawthorne's "Rapaccini's Daughter," which nevertheless he had certainly read."

Editat: abr. 12, 2018, 10:55am

>137 alaudacorax:

Speaking of Gilbert & Sullivan, does Ruddigore count? It has all the elements, just topsy-turvy.

abr. 12, 2018, 2:01pm

>138 robertajl:

Hah-hah! I've always felt I'm being left out of something when I've watched Topsy-Turvy - the viewers seem to be meant to recognise certain bits of dialogue - as if there is some biography or such that one is supposed to have read. I like it very much, though.

I haven't actually seen or heard Ruddigore, that I remember. I think I'll have a G&S evening, courtesy of YouTube.

abr. 12, 2018, 2:41pm

>139 alaudacorax:

Okay, skip that - can't find a performance with both video and audio - and that doesn't threaten to make my ears bleed ...

abr. 12, 2018, 2:47pm

>139 alaudacorax:, >140 alaudacorax:

There's actually a Ruddigore on DVD on Amazon with Vincent Price in it! Rather expensive, though ...

abr. 12, 2018, 6:45pm

I'd call Ruddigore a spoof on Gothic themes, I think.The cast list includes eight ancestral ghosts - Sir Roderick Murgatroyd, Sir Rupert Murgatroyd, and so on (who step out of the family portraits in the picture gallery of Ruddigore Castle) to, I think, berate the last living Murgatroyd for not being evil enough.

I've just remembered - in Kim Newman's Anno Dracula series - a kind of alternative history set in the world of Bram Stoker's Dracula (or at least initially limited to that world - the series expanded into something akin to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Penny Dreadful); set in it, but different because here, Dracula has won - the vampirised young Englishmen who go "full Goth" are nicknamed "Murgatroyds".

abr. 13, 2018, 2:22pm

Scored a recording of an excellent performance of Heinrich Marschner's Der Vampyr, as revised by Hans Pfitzner. (Give me another ten years or so and I'll get to entering my CDs again...) Now this is more like it--interesting texture and spookiness, and even some recursive in-jokes--a character in the opera about a vampire gathers folk around her to tell them a story about a vampire--and someone even remarks that such stories are great told in darkness.

Marschner, btw, seems to have been haunted by the demonic--he composed an opera called The Child Murderess (Die Kindermörderin) at thirteen (the template likely one of the many stories on the motif). And what's with all those dying wives, hmmm?

The vampire "recharges" exposed to moonlight... which, inevitably, reminded me of the Addams family's "moonbathing"...

abr. 13, 2018, 2:30pm

oct. 14, 2018, 2:33pm

>1 alaudacorax: - ... surely a few composers must have come under the spell as well?

I have finally found a genuine Gothic opera: in the time-zone and inspired by the literature and with the most traditional elements imaginable.

Gounod's La nonne sanglante ('The Bloody Nun'), from the mid-19thC, is based on nothing less than a story from Matthew Lewis's The Monk; it has a haunted castle and a vengeful ghost and a dark family secret - its Gothic credentials are absolutely impeccable.

It's production history is almost Gothic, as well. It had a short run at the Paris Opéra, then there was a new director who said he wouldn't tolerate 'such filth' - 'pareilles ordures' - the traditional reaction to the Gothic - and it was pretty much buried for a hundred and fifty years. As far as I can find out there have been only two productions in modern times (may be wrong about that) and no video recordings of it and just one CD - I'm excited and I'm having it!

oct. 14, 2018, 2:47pm

>145 alaudacorax:

Trouble is we're getting spoilt these days. I'm getting to really dislike having to buy opera CDs - I want DVDs or Blu-rays!

oct. 14, 2018, 2:48pm

>146 alaudacorax:

Especially for this one ...

oct. 14, 2018, 6:03pm

>145 alaudacorax:
Congratulations! I didn't know about this at all (ifI'd thought "Gounod" and "Gothic", I'd have thought of Faust, by virtue of the subject matter, and its use in some versions of The Phantom of the Opera, and thought both connections rather tenuous.

>146 alaudacorax:
On the CD/DVD dilemma, I don't know if this is good news, or infuriating because it's a poor substitute for a Blu-Ray, or infuriating because you've ordered the CD, but there's a recent production all up on YouTube:

oct. 15, 2018, 8:06am

>148 housefulofpaper:

Damnation!!! And thanks very much for the link, Andrew - it's downloading as we speak.

I was treating myself last night and probably spent two or three hours choosing some operas from a long wish list of alternative versions and accidentally came upon La nonne sanglante while googling for info. Got a bit over-excited - just added it to an order on impulse. I remember thinking as I went up to bed something like, "I didn't check for online videos on that - never mind - there almost certainly won't be any"! Never underestimate YouTube!

Incidentally, it may be a 'lesser work by a lesser composer', but fifty minutes in and I'm loving it (musically, at least - haven't been watching it). But then I fell in love with Gounod and became a committed fan first time I heard a full Faust.

oct. 16, 2018, 6:02pm

>149 alaudacorax:

I'm glad to know my post was useful.

I do need to learn more about French Opera (and classical) composers. It's a bit of a gap in my musical education.

oct. 17, 2018, 5:18am

>150 housefulofpaper:

Worked out all right in the end. Got an email from MDT to say neither that nor Der Freischütz (see >1 alaudacorax:) were currently in stock at their suppliers, cancelled both, and downloaded a good copy of the exact same Der Freischütz from YouTube. Note to self, yet again - ALWAYS CHECK YOUTUBE FIRST!

des. 22, 2018, 1:19am

>1 alaudacorax:

It seems Academia has caught up with me.

At last an academic looking for Gothic in opera ... though Charpentier pre-dates the genre by at least half a century. Looking forward to reading the article.

Editat: gen. 20, 2019, 8:56am

I've just been rather pleased to find out that, way back in the 'twenties when he was a young man, Aaron Copland composed a ballet inspired by having seen Nosferatu.

I can't find a video of it, but here's the music - ...

... and here's a good blog post about it by someone, including a synopsis -

... Grohg is a “magician-vampire” who rules a domain peopled with “dead bodies that dance, an opium-eater, a streetwalker and assorted on-stage coffins.” (from, so it actually seems to be about raising the dead rather than vampirism, but I'm not picky and I'd love to see it - but I can't find that it's ever been coreographed and danced, let alone filmed.

ETA - Oops! Forgot to mention it's called Grogh ...

març 24, 2019, 8:02am

>153 alaudacorax:

Listening to BBC Radio 3 this morning, I heard a piece of music (I didn't much like it) played by an ensemble called 'Noszferatu'. Can't find out online why they are so-called, but in the process of searching (before I got the spelling right), I accidentally discovered what seem to be several other pieces of music based on 'Nosferatu'. I shall have to look into it all some more--see how the internet gobbles up your time?

març 24, 2019, 7:31pm

>154 alaudacorax:

I've got Nosferatu on blu-ray, in editions with a Hammer-style score by James Bernard and a recreation of the original score (played live at the premiere) which is an arrangement of classical pieces.

Just a quick look on Amazon reveals more soundtracks.

I have the soundtrack of the Werner Herzog remake (by Popol Vuh) but what I found to be the most striking piece of music from the film is missing. It was also used by Kate Bush in "Hello Earth" from The Ninth Wave (side 2 of The Hounds of Love LP). Much later I found out what it was - a Georgian folk tune called Tsintskaro (or Ts'ints'qaro).

març 25, 2019, 5:29am

>154 alaudacorax: & >155 housefulofpaper:
I trust you have seen, "Shadow of the Vampire".

març 25, 2019, 6:38am

>156 pgmcc:

I have, but a long time back and I must confess I don't remember the music.

abr. 10, 2019, 11:01am

Discovered this thread today and must get back to work (cough), but thank you for the OP and all the various goodies posted thereafter. Lots to explore.

abr. 10, 2019, 12:28pm

>157 alaudacorax:

I was just taken by the comments on "Nosferatu" and it reminded me of "Shadow of the Vampire". I was not thinking of the music. Apologies for wandering off topic.

Of course, now that you have mentioned the music I am thinking I must watch "Shadow of the Vampire" again to listen to the music. I have it on DVD somewhere so that should not be too much of a chore.

Editat: abr. 11, 2019, 9:34am

Don't recall reading above of another 19c opera, inspired by a narrative poem of Thomas Moore. Here's the relevant passage from a Lovecraft Zine article:
Lalla Rookh was possibly Moore’s most famous work. It was widely translated into many foreign languages. The episode featuring Mokanna was adopted into a popular opera, The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan (1879) , by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford. This opera about an ugly man hiding behind a mask was the likely inspiration for Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera (1910). Leroux hinted at the connection to Moore’s poem by giving his masked protagonist strong ties to Persia.
It would appear Lovecraft may have been influenced by Moore for a character in "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" and elsewhere.

abr. 12, 2019, 6:01am

>160 elenchus:
The internet sucks you in when you really don't have the time: Lalla Rookh is one of those books you are vaguely aware of but have never got round to reading; you've never heard, or heard of, The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan; you can't remember anything about Persia in Phantom of the Opera--so you start looking things up online--next thing you know, you are starting to get lost in an article about the 'Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm'; then you disentangle yourself from that, only to find yourself writing posts on LT ...

Someday, I'll get around to it all ...

abr. 12, 2019, 9:18am

It is a very familiar experience. Currently I'm embroiled in all manner of tangents linking back to the King in Yellow stories ....

abr. 14, 2019, 5:55am

>160 elenchus:, >161 alaudacorax:

Thomas Moore turns up in the most unlikely places. I've always been fond of a song called 'The Evening Bell', which I first heard sung by Welsh male voice choirs in my younger days. Much later I discovered it was a translation of a Russian 'folk song', 'Večerni zvon' - Now I discover it was actually a 19thC, Russian setting of a Thomas Moore poem in translation--'Those Evening Bells'. It's a small, surprisingly interconnected world ...

abr. 14, 2019, 11:56am

>163 alaudacorax:

I'll need to listen to that a few times more, especially to get any sense of the vocals / lyric, but I love the connection to Moore.

maig 22, 2019, 6:35am

>165 LolaWalser:

Fascinating. Liked the musical saw, too; I have a weakness for both.

I'd fear to have some psychiatrist do one of those word association tests on me--I have some weird thought processes--probably as a result of years belonging to this group:
'Theremin' brings up 'pheromone' and 'feral', which lead to memories of coming across wild billy-goats in the North Wales hills, which in turn bring vague memories of British '60s and '70s horror films with goats' heads in oddly decorous orgies. Which should, of course, lead back to theremins and electric saws, though those probably belonged in other parts of the films ...

juny 3, 2019, 7:47pm

Speaking of free associations... (NO reflection on you Paul! ;))...

What could be more Gothic than a quiet little song about bondage...

Element Of Crime - Sperr mich ein

Erklär' mir meine Rechte, sperr mich ein--Ich will von Dir verhaftet sein...

English lyrics:

juny 4, 2019, 8:27am

>167 LolaWalser:

Not music-related, but while we're on the subject of kinky sex ...

I've been catching up on unread Clark Ashton Smith short stories in odd moments, and yesterday I read 'The Monster of the Prophecy' (available free in a few places online). I'm not sure whether to call it kinky or deliciously unprejudiced in sexual matters, but it delighted me--by far the best of the current bunch I've read. I'm at a loss to imagine how it might have been received by the original readers back in the '30s. Weird Tale or Fantasy, rather than Gothic, though.

juny 4, 2019, 10:41am

Well that's something to look forward to when I get to CAS by and by then...

juny 6, 2019, 7:42pm

OK, a German cover of "Paranoid" with completely different lyrics. I know there was a tendency in West Germany post war to knock the rough edges off things and keep everything "nice"; but still, this comes across as very odd indeed.
Cindy und Bert - "Der Hund von Baskerville"

And this early one from The Fall. Discussed by the late Mark Fisher. Genuine Lovecraftian Weird story, or nasty pub tall tale, or both?
The Fall - "Impression of J Temperance"

juny 7, 2019, 1:41pm

Tchermanns: funnier than most are willing to credit...

The second one is some kind of psychotic cabaret? I'm catching only every third word or so.. who ARE those people

juny 10, 2019, 10:17am

>171 LolaWalser:
This was The Fall, the punk or maybe post-punk band started by Mark E Smith in the late 70s and that just kept going (with him as the only permanent member and a roster of over 60 ex-members, a lot of them summarily fired!) until he passed away in January last year.

They were sort of the spine of indie rock in the UK, favourites of DJ John Peel, very productive. They were aways there is you happened to be listening to the radio late enough in the evening, even if critically their stock went down at times.

I never got into them; I think I was a little scared, the style and presentation is defiantly non-glamourous, un-Romantic..and it's often hard to make out exactly what Smith is singing/saying.

set. 14, 2019, 11:08am

It's possible I posted this before, but in memory of Philippe Pascal who just died (suicide they think), don't mind if it's a repeat.

Marquis de Sade plays "Conrad Veidt"--ha! Not an everyday combination of words...

Marquis de Sade - Conrad Veidt (live 2/4)

set. 14, 2019, 7:39pm

>173 LolaWalser:

No, i don't think you have posted that before. Thanks. A discovery for me.

The only Francophone punk we knew of in the 80s was Plastic Bertrand...

set. 14, 2019, 7:42pm

I meant to post about some sheet music I saw in a charity shop. It was entitled Suite Gothique.

I've found out that it's a piece for organ from 1895, composed by by Léon Boëllmann.

Wikipedia says that it "was transcribed for brass band by Eric Ball, and is frequently used as a concert finale"..."as well as a test piece in contesting".

set. 14, 2019, 8:50pm

>175 housefulofpaper:

I've quite a collection of organ music but wasn't familiar with that... found a great interpretation by Marie-Claire Alain, one of the greats of the organ:

✥ BOËLLMANN - Suite Gothique (Marie-Claire ALAIN) ✥


set. 26, 2019, 5:48pm

I didn't know that in the 1980s Philip Glass had composed a work based on Poe's A Descent into the Maelstrom.

Then a saw a CD of a new recording of the piece - or to be precise of an arrangement for full orchestra by Aleksander Waaktaar.

It turns out the CD is the soundtrack to a film by Norwegian filmmaker Jan Vardøen. Here's a trailer for it:

set. 26, 2019, 8:09pm

>177 housefulofpaper:

"When I signed up for this orchestra I thought it was going to be a comfy, indoor job with no heavy lifting. And where do I end up? In the Arctic Circle carrying a cello up a freaking big mountain!"

Editat: gen. 18, 2020, 1:33pm

In an effort to accelerate my learning of French I bought a stack of chanson CDs--Jacque Brel, Georges Brassens, Léo Ferré--and I I've been playing them for hours everyday every day. My favourite so far is Léo Ferré, even though I can't understand what he's singing about--all I get is a lot of scattered words and the odd short phrase. I am absolutely aching for the day I can understand the lyrics of his Les Métamorphoses Du Vampire or his Thank You Satan (English refrain, French lyrics--he must have felt that when directly addressing the Devil he should use the old boy's native tongue).

gen. 17, 2020, 1:49pm

>179 alaudacorax:

Have you looked up the lyrics online? It ought to improve your learning rate. Congratulations and good luck, by the way.

gen. 18, 2020, 1:33pm

>180 LolaWalser: - Have you looked up the lyrics online?

Nah--that'd feel like cheating! I'm waiting for the lyrics to gradually start taking shape--like a sort of measure of progress.

Editat: gen. 19, 2020, 3:13pm

If you don't mind a word of caution--I used to tutor when I was a student at the uni--try not to listen for too long over and over to the same thing without connecting the sound to the letter, as it could prove hard to dislodge a mistaken interpretation. (ETA: Mots d'Heures: Gousses, Rames, The d'Antin Manuscript :))

Songs by Ferré, Brassens, Brel and similar are quite complicated, "real" poems (mostly), with difficult vocabularies, idiomatic and slangy. Don't forget also that adjacent French words are sometimes connected in speech--and the connection between spelling and pronunciation, while less crazy than in English, nevertheless isn't obvious--just think of how many things the sound "eh" could mean (et, est, ait, aient etc.)

gen. 21, 2020, 5:37am

>182 LolaWalser:

Thanks, good points. I'm sure you're right. Some are actual poems, too--I think I saw Baudelaire mentioned on one CD list--I don't know how much or little the language might have changed since his day.

What I do like about them is that their annunciation is always so clear. Come to that, I suspect the annunciation of the film-actors is generally better than in the English-speaking world, too. Sounds like it to me, anyway. Even if I do miss a hundred words because I've dived into the dictionary for one ...

gen. 21, 2020, 12:50pm

>182 LolaWalser:

Just checked your link, face-palmed forehead ...

gen. 21, 2020, 1:47pm

maig 9, 2020, 12:01pm

Ben's thread on Goth music and post made me think of a fave of mine I can't remember posting about before:

Depeche Mode: The Sweetest Perfection

Low on open dread, perhaps, and maybe too lushly romantic for Goth music (which is why I wasn't sure it would be welcome to post there), but I find it dark enough in its "sweetness", to say nothing of decadent, to qualify as somewhat "Gothic".

maig 10, 2020, 10:52pm

I actually think that's a great song, and a really complete album. I don't know if you've heard the Depeche Mode album called, Black Celebration, but it has a song called "Stripped", and another called "Fly on the Windscreen" which also could make Goth music lovers list....

maig 11, 2020, 4:02pm

>187 benbrainard8:

Thanks for the tips. It's embarrassing to admit, but at this point I don't even recall everything I have & have heard... I know I have a lot of DM albums, and I knew Rammstein's version of "Stripped". It's good to go back to the original.

maig 11, 2020, 4:04pm

I have to say I feel now I've wasted being alive in the 1980s... :)

Editat: maig 11, 2020, 11:16pm

I always feel so fortunate to have grown up during 1970s-1990s. So much awesome music all-around.

Yes, Depeche Mode (DM) are a fairly intimidating group to follow, I think they've no less than 17-19 albums. And those don't count any of the collections that can be found.

I only remember Black Celebration album because it was "Goth" in appearance, too, with a very interesting colour combination on the album cover.

ag. 31, 2020, 5:34pm

This has been cracking me up the last few days...

"bats filmed upside down look like a Goth nightclub"

ag. 31, 2020, 6:28pm

>191 LWMusic:
That's incredible.

set. 1, 2020, 3:53pm

Lol, isn't it! Great choice of music. Btw, anyone know what it is?

set. 1, 2020, 6:00pm

>194 housefulofpaper:

Excellent sleuthing, thank you!

set. 2, 2020, 5:23pm

>191 LWMusic:

It's a cliché, but, 'weird and wonderful'. I love it.