Scary Choral Music for Halloween

Audio not yet available
Email a Friend

This week the Choral Mix goes trick-or-treating for scary Halloween goodies. The show features several different settings of the Dies Irae, which is part of the Latin Mass. The text translates as “Day of Wrath” and speaks directly to despair in the face of death and judgment. You’ll also hear frightening music by Handel, Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff and Ligeti. Listen with the lights on!

Halloween is on its way, bringing ghosts, goblins and witches – and some very haunting music. Sometimes the sound alone of Halloween music can be spooky, and other times, it’s the words that scare the daylights out of us. That truly is the power of choral music: all music can convey a mood, but when you add the dimension of text, it takes you to a whole new level.



Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Requiem Mass in D Minor, K. 626 / Dies Irae

William Christie, Conductor

Les Arts Florissants

Erato 10697



George Frederick Handel: Belshazzar, HWV 61: “Oh misery! oh terror! oh hopeless grief!”

Nicholas Robertson, Tenor; David Wilson-Johnson, Bass; Nigel Short, Countertenor; Richard Wistreich, Bass; Julia Gooding, Soprano; Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Tenor; Arleen Augér, Soprano; Catherine Robbin, Mezzo Soprano; James Bowman, Countertenor

Trevor Pinnock, Conductor

English Concert; English Concert Choir

Archiv Production (DG) 477-037-2



George Frideric Handel: Israel in Egypt, HWV 54: Three of the plagues in succession-

He gave them hailstones for rain

He sent a thick darkness

He smote the first born of Egypt

John Eliot Gardiner, Conductor

Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists

Philips 432 110-2


György Ligeti: Requiem: Kyrie II

Francis Travis, Conductor

Bavarian Radio Orchestra

C.F. Peters Corp

2001: A Space Odyssey, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Sony 88697637972


Sergei Rachmaninov: The Bells, Op. 35: “Hear the howling of the alarm bell (terror)”

Mikhail Pletnev, Conductor

Moscow State Chamber Choir; Russian National Orchestra

DG 289 471 029-2


Ildebrando Pizzetti: Messa di Requiem “Dies Irae”

James O’Donnell, Conductor

Westminster Cathedral Choir

Hyperion 67017


Felix Mendelssohn: Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Op. 60: “Kommt mit Zacken und mit Gabeln” (The First Witches' Sabbath)

Christoph von Dohnanyi, Conductor

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Vienna Singverein

Decca 289 460 236-2


Hector Berlioz: Le ballet des ombres, Op. 2

Roger Norrington, Conductor

Peter Smith, Piano

Heinrich Schütz Choir and Chorale

Decca 4758579


Orlande de Lassus: Timor et tremor, motet for 6 voices, M. iii (S. xix/6)

Alexander Blachly, Conductor


Old Hall Recordings 845121000320


Juraj Filas: Requiem Oratio spei, for soprano, tenor, baritone, chorus and orchestra “Dies Irae”

Ana María Martínez, Soprano

Matthew Plenk, Tenor

Filip Bandžak, Baritone

Kühn Choir

Prague Symphony Orchestra

Kent Tritle, Conductor

Editions Bim - Switzerland / Harmony Foundation, Inc. (888174317922)


Giuseppe Verdi: Macbeth “Che faceste? dite su!”

Riccardo Chailly, Conductor

Bologna Teatro Comunale Chorus; Bologna Teatro Comunale Orchestra

Decca 417 525-2