Ether Game

Headless Harmonies

Can you guess this piece? Here's a hint: she shows up in the weirdest places

This composer, or rather, the fictional “artist” who is the protagonist, reflects upon love, losing, and murdering of a “beloved” who is depicted by a recurring musical theme. After a tempestuous first movement depicting the artist’s passionate dreams, the theme keeps resurfacing in a number of scenes, ranging from the delicate to the grotesque and blending reality and reverie. In this movement, the artist has taken opium and, in his drug-induced dream, has killed the object of his affection. He is then a witness to his own execution as he marches up the scaffold steps to be beheaded.

Music Heard On This Episode

Arthur Sullivan: Overture
Welsh National Opera/Charles Mackerras — The Mikado (Telarc, 1992)
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Arthur Sullivan: Overture
Welsh National Opera/Charles Mackerras — The Mikado (Telarc, 1992)
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Antonio Vivaldi: Judith Triumphant: Noli, O Cara
Yo-Yo Ma/Amsterdam Baroque Orch/Ton Koopman — Vivaldi's Cello (SONY MASTERWORKS, 2010)
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Gaetano Donizetti: Anna Bolena: Cielo n' lunghi spasmini
Beverly Sills/London Symphony Orch/Julius Rudel — The Art of Beverly Sills (Deutsche Grammophon, 2002)
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Don Raye; Gene de Paul: The headless horseman
Kay Starr — Halloween Stomp: Haunted House Party (Jass Records, 1993)
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Richard Strauss: Excerpt from final scene
Catherine Malfitano/Vienna Philharmonic/Christoph von Dohnanyi — Salome (Decca Records, 2011)
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Francis Poulenc: Final scene
Orch and Chorus of National Opera of Lyon/Kent Nagano — Dialogues of the Carmelites (Virgin classics, 1992)
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Bert Lee; R. P. Weston: With her head tucked underneath her arm
Rudy Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees — Halloween Stomp: Haunted House Party (Jass Records, 1993)
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George Frideric Handel: Giulio Cesare: The wounded serpent will not rest
David Daniels/Orch of the Age of Enlightenment — Operatic arias (Virgin Veritas, 1998)
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Traditional song: 'Tis the last rose of summer
Wynton Marsalis — Classic Wynton (Sony, 1998)
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Giuseppe Verdi: Ernani: Selections
Maria Callas/Concertgebouw Orch — Maria Callas: Live in concert (EMI Classics, 1998)
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Daniel Börtz: Final Scenes
Swedish Folk Opera and Chorus — Marie Antoinette (Caprice, 1998)
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Hector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique: March to the Scaffold
Baltimore Symphony/David Zinman — Symphonie fantastique, Roman Carnival Overture (Telarc, 1991)
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Good times, bad times
Led Zeppelin — Led Zeppelin (Atlantic, 1994)
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