Here’s some seasonal macabre.
The Conte fantastique after Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death by the gifted André Caplet (1878–1925), for harp and string quartet, deserves to rank alongside the better-known works with harp by his contemporaries Debussy and Ravel.
Given that today’s date (#DieInADitchDay) has been constantly on the lips of sinister, mendacious Tory toffs desperate to pull up the drawbridge and feast on the bendy bananas so long denied them, the plot has a topical ring:
The prince and his nobles have taken refuge to escape the Red Death, indifferent to the sufferings of the population, sealing the doors shut and awaiting the end of the plague in luxury behind the walls.
Here’s Caplet’s Conte fantastique with the great Lily Laskine (1893–1988):
It’s dedicated to Micheline Kahn; meanwhile in Paris between the wars, Noor Inayat Khan was studying the harp with Henriette Renié, another teacher at the École Normale de Musique.
Caplet’s sonic treatment is just as dramatic, and its dénouement just as scary, as Roger Corman’s 1964 film The Masque of the Red Death, starring Vincent Price. Here’s a trailer:
2 thoughts on “The Masque of the Red Death”
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