24-Hour Halloween Scarathon

Q2 Music's Inaugural Marathon of Spine-Tingling, Bone-Chilling, and Flesh-Crawling New Music

Friday, October 18, 2013

On Thursday, Oct. 31, Q2 Music celebrates new music's favorite holiday, Halloween, with its first 24-hour scarathon of hair-raising microtones, densely clustered choruses and heart-pumping slasher film suites.

Contemporary classical music has always had a special place in horror and suspense films. Stanley Kubrick featured music of György Ligeti, Bela Bartok and Krzysztof Penderecki in the score The Shining; Penderecki's Polymorphia unnerved viewers of The Exorcist and David Lynch's Inland Empire. Wojciech Kilar's score to Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula brought the composer widespread recognition outside of his native Poland and recently, Martin Scorsese drew almost entirely on contemporary classical music for his film, Shutter Island.

Part of Celebrating Poland: Lutosławski, Penderecki and New Music Now, the marathon touches on the manifold contributions to horror films of Polish composers, from Penderecki to Kilar, but the playlists will be primary crafted from direct suggestions from listeners and favorites from our hosts


From host Conor Hanick. Hear Conor at 10 am on Hammered!

Sure, there is music that sounds scary, music that bumps in the night, music that creates ominous, uneasy atmospheres. But what about the more immediate, visceral, bone-chilling anxiety felt by the performers of these works? Is there anything more terrifying than starring wide-eyed into the dense black scrawls of a horrifically difficult score?

Hammered!: Halloween Edition explores the dark and demented pages of the repertoire's most paralyzingly difficult pieces, including some that sound downright chilling: cue the startling, uncanny movements of György Ligeti's Piano Concerto, and György Kurtag's ...Quasi una Fantasia..., in addition to demonically challenging works by Thomas Adès, John Zorn, Pascal Dusapin and Gordon Downie.

From host Phil Kline. Hear Phil from 11 am - 1 pm. 

There's a lot of classical music on spooky themes, the "Witches Sabbath" from Berlioz's Symphonie Fanstastique and Saint-Saens's Danse Macabre come to mind, and Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain was scary enough to represent the Wicked Witch's caste in the Wizard of Oz.

In recent times, Penderecki's Threnody set a new standard for orchestral horror, and soon thereafter Crumb's Black Angels brought similar darkness to chamber music. We'll hear some of that, along with a sacred-themed organ piece that some people think is the scariest thing ever: Messiaens's Apparitions of the Church Eternal.

Recently, David Lang's music has been rather death-obsessed and his Bang on a Can co-founders, Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon, have been summoning apocalyptic visions on a regular basis. We'll get to all of that, as well as new music's own dark alchemist, Glenn Branca. And for good measure there will be a haunted tale by Nico Muhly and a ghastly premonition of my own.

From the Brothers Balliett. Hear the Brothers at 3 pm

For Halloween, the Brothers Balliett serve up a cauldron of bone-chilling works by living (un-dead) composers. If you thought the theremin was the classic Halloween instrument, think again: it just may be the Ondes Martenot. We play two works, Space Forest Bound by Etienne Rolin and Nightmare by Lindsay Cooper.

We'll also visit the Bermuda Triangle with John Harbison and visit an underwater monster with Kraken by Herbert Vazquez. Finally, no Halloween would be complete without vampires. We'll hear two blood-curdling scenes from Robert Moran's The Dracula Diaries, an opera macabre. Settle in with some candy corn... and look out behind you!


Celebrating Poland: Lutosławski, Penderecki and New Music Now is supported, in part, by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of Polska Music programme.

Hosted by:

Brad Balliett, Doug Balliett, Conor Hanick and Phil Kline

Produced by:

Hannis Brown


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Q2 Music is WQXR’s online music station devoted to dynamic contemporary classical music, trailblazing ensembles and vibrant, live performances from New York City's leading new-music venues. Q2 Music lives online at www.wqxr.org/q2music and is accessible via the free WQXR app.


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