Year 11 Homework: Wednesday 22nd September 2010

Listen to Danse Macabre by Saint-Saëns from the Spotify playlist (click here).

Write a paragraph describing how the music of Danse Macabre expresses the various parts of the poem by Henri Cazalis. You do not have to cover everything, just find your highlights. (You may wish to refer to instruments, rhythm, melody, pitch, dynamics, texture or any other features that are relevant).

Due: Tuesday 28th September 2010

English Translation of the poem:

Zig, zig, zig, Death in cadence,

Striking a tomb with his heel,

Death at midnight plays a dance-tune,

Zig, zig, zag, on his violin.

The winter wind blows, and the night is dark;

Moans are heard in the linden trees.

White skeletons pass through the gloom,

Running and leaping in their shrouds.

Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking,

You can hear the cracking of the bones of the dancers.

A lustful couple sits on the moss

So as to taste long lost delights.

Zig zig, zig, Death continues

The unending scraping on his instrument.

A veil has fallen! The dancer is naked.

Her partner grasps her amorously.

The lady, it's said, is a marchioness or baroness

And her green gallant, a poor cartwright.

Horror! Look how she gives herself to him,

Like the rustic was a baron.

Zig, zig, zig. What a saraband!

They all hold hands and dance in circles.

Zig, zig, zag. You can see in the crowd

The king dancing among the peasants.

But hist! All of a sudden, they leave the dance,

They push forward, they fly; the cock has crowed.

Oh what a beautiful night for the poor world!

Long live death and equality!

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