Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Brahms - Gesang Der Parzen (Song Of The Fates)

Johannes Brahms personal library contained works by many composers, including music written by Baroque and Renaissance masters. He also collected autographs of earlier composer's works. These works were thoroughly studied by Brahms as his margin notes in them attest to. Brahms acquired his mastery of music by being the eternal student, but music was not his only interest. He was also a voracious reader of other subjects and was well acquainted with German literature, especially the works of Johann Goethe.

He was acquainted with many of the leading musicologists of his time and edited music of earlier masters and in his role as a conductor played many of the neglected masterpieces for orchestra and chorus. He made an intensive study of choral works from Palestrina to Bach, so it was natural that his first successful large work was for chorus, soloists and orchestra,Ein deutsches Requiem (A German Requiem) written in 1865-1868.

He continued to write works for chorus and orchestra throughout his career, with Gesang Der Parzen (Song Of The Fates) being written in 1882.  The text he used for the work was taken from the play Iphigenie auf Tauris, a reworking of the Greek legend of Iphigenia  by Johann Goethe.  In the play, Iphigenia tell about a song that was sung by the Fates that warned humans about the cruel and moody behavior of the gods. This text is what Brahms used.

The work is for a six-voice choir as Brahms divides the altos and basses into two parts. The work is only ten to eleven minutes in duration, but Brahms uses a large orchestra for it. It is sung without pause. The work opens in D minor, and the mood stays rather somber, ominous and powerful, save for one short section where the music brightens temporarily.

The text is a little hard to decipher in any English translation I've ever read, but the original was written over 250 years ago, in German, in a much different environment, time and culture. But Brahms music is sublime.

Gesang Der Panzen by Goethe
The human race should tremble
before the gods!
For in their hands they
hold dominion over them,
and demand whatever
they please.

Those who have been exalted
by the gods should doubly fear them!
On cliffs and clouds
chairs stand on the ready
around tables of gold.

If dissension arises,
then the guests are hurled down,
despised and disgraced,
into the nocturnal depths,
and they wait there in vain,
bound in darkness,
for just judgement.

But the gods remain
at their eternal feast
at the golden tables.
They walk from mountain,
to mountain peak.
From the abyss of the deep
streams the breath
of suffocating Titans
as a light mist of a
burnt offering.

The rulers avert their
blessing-bestowing eyes
from entire races,
and avoid seeing, in the grandchild,
the once loved, silently speaking features
of the ancestor.

So sang the Fates;
The old banished one listens
in his darkened lair
to the songs of ancient ones,
thinks of his children and grandchildren
and shakes his head.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sibelius - Symphony No. 4 In A Minor

In 1908 Jean Sibelius had a tumor removed from his throat that proved to be cancerous. For the next few years he feared a return of the cancer, which may have led to the dark music contained within the 4th Symphony.  But the dark hue of the music could just as well been influenced by another piece he was working on at the time; a setting of Edgar Allan Poe's poemThe Raven in a setting for voice and orchestra (a work that never came to fruition).  Or perhaps it was the general atmosphere of the world at the time that led to the mood of the symphony. Speculations by musicologists have covered these possibilities as well as others.

Whatever caused the atmosphere of the music, there is no denying that the 4th Symphony is one of Sibelius' most puzzling works. Written in 1910-1911, it is sandwiched between the triumphant 3rd Symphony and heroic 5th Symphony and is in contrast to both.  With its sparseness in scoring and exploration of the dissonant interval of the tritone,  the symphony received scant applause at its premiere in 1911 which was conducted by the composer. The composer's wife recalled:
People avoided our eyes, shook their heads; their smiles were embarrassed, furtive, or ironic. Not many people came backstage to the artists' room to pay their respects. 
The symphony bewildered audiences for years, but is finally getting recognition as one of Sibelius' best works. It is in four movements:

I. Tempo molto moderato, quasi adagio -  Known for over 300 years as a dissonance, the tritone (a musical interval composed of three adjacent whole tones) was also known as diabolus in musica, or the devil in music because of its perceived dissonance. The name was given to it early in the Medieval era to emphasize that the interval should be avoided in music like the devil in every day life. The evil connotation of the interval was used by composers in music that attempted to depict fear, terror or the devil itself.  The French composer Camille Saint-Saëns use of the tritone to depict the devil playing its fiddle in his tone poem Danse Macabre is but one example of how it was used.  Sibelius begins the first movement with a short introduction for bass instruments that uses the tritone to create tonal ambiguity. A solo cello further confuses the tonality  until the cellos as a group state the first theme in A minor after the introduction. The tritone continues to appear throughout the movement as well as the rest of the symphony.  Short motifs float in and out making it difficult for the ear to find its way. After much ruminating, the strings slowly play a series of ascending notes E-F-Bflat-A (which contains the tritone E-Bflat) until the movement ends quietly on A

II. Allegro molto vivace -  The second movement begins as a sprightly scherzo but roughly half way through the mood turns black and the music gets extremely quiet and the movement stops.

III. Il tempo largo -  The third movement wafts across the orchestra in a nocturne of haunted night music. Sibelius referred to this symphony as "a psychological symphony" perhaps referring to this movement that represents the darkness of the mind.  The music slows to a quietly throbbing C-sharp in the violins and violas that is played across bar lines as a short motif repeats a few times until the spectre evaporates.

IV. Allegro -  As in the beginning of the second movement, the fourth movement opens in a somewhat cheerful music that is brightened by the glockenspiel. The movement begins in A major but struggles between A major and E-flat major. Not coincidentally the interval A-Eflat is a tritone. The music ends up going nowhere, and on a repeating C in the strings (the same pitch that began the symphony) the symphony hints at the home key of A minor and stops.

With all four movements ending in quiet ambiguity, virtually no memorable themes, an original harmonic scheme based on the interval of the tritone and movement structure that places a slow movement at the beginning of the symphony, it is no wonder that audiences found the work difficult and perplexing. Sibelius continued to develop his symphonic style up to his last finished symphony. Perhaps he could develop his style no further, perhaps he was written out, but whatever the reason his seventh symphony was his last, and after 1926 he did not write any more large works for the rest of his life. He died in 1957.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nielsen - Symphony No. 5

The premiere of classical music works can create many different reactions with audiences.  Johannes Brahms experienced a negative reaction from the audience at the Leipzig premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1859. The work had already been performed a few days before in Hanover to general success, but the story was different in Leipzig as Brahms wrote to his friend Joseph Joachim:
“No reaction at all to the first and second movements. At the end, three pairs of hands tried slowly to clap, whereupon a clear hissing from all sides quickly put an end to any such demonstration … I am only experimenting and feeling my way, all the same, the hissing was rather too much." 
Perhaps the most well known scandalous premiere was of Igor Stravinsky's ballet The Rite Of Spring in May of 1913 in Paris.  Truth be told, no one knows if it was the music or the staging of the ballet that caused the disturbance.  Some members of the audience threw vegetables on stage in what was probably a concerted effort by traditionalists to disrupt the performance, and there was so much noise that it practically drowned out the orchestra.

Symphony No. 5 by Danish composer Carl Nielsen got a hostile treatment as well at its premiere in Sweden in 1924.  The symphony already premiered in Denmark two years prior with the composer conducting and was received well by the audience.  The premiere in Sweden was different, as reported in the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende :
Midway through the first part with its rattling drum and cacophonous effects a genuine panic broke out. Around a quarter of the audience rushed for the exits with confusion and anger written over their faces, and those who remained tried to hiss down the spectacle, while the conductor Georg Schneevoight drove the orchestra to extremes of volume. This whole intermezzo underlined the humoristic-burlesque element in the symphony in such a way that Carl Nielsen could certainly never have dreamed of. His representation of modern life with its confusion, brutality and struggle, all the uncontrolled shouts of pain and ignorance - and behind it all the side drum's harsh rhythm as the only disciplining force - as the public fled, made a touch of almost diabolic humor. 
Nielsen wrote the symphony in 1920-1922 and was to write but one more in his life. He is most well known for the six symphonies, and from the first one written in 1892 until the last written in 1925 showed a steady refinement in his style. Along with the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, Nielsen's modernism didn't go the way of Schoenberg's Twelve Tone technique or Stravinsky's chameleon-like changes of style. He remained a tonal composer, but one of great unpredictability that managed to stretch harmony in many directions without breaking it altogether.  Symphony No. 5 is in two movements that are further subdivided:

I.  The first movement is in two sections:

Tempo giusto -The violas wavers between two notes in the beginning of the work with the bassoons entering with a theme that ends with a downward scale. The theme does not return as the orchestra seems to meander about in the fog created in the opening. The wavering transfers to the clarinet until the snare drum makes its appearance. It beats out a monotonous rhythm with the low strings playing the same alternating two pizzicato notes F and D.  The clarinet and flute play a motif over the monotony until the rhythms fade away and the wavering returns as various instruments play what seems like random motives. The snare drum returns as the wavering notes cease as the oboe plays a familiar motive. The celesta plays a repeated, detached note as the orchestra grows more and more sinister. The music grows quiet, a tambourine is heard along with the fading snare drum.
Adagio non troppo - A lyrical theme in the strings spreads over the orchestra until a motive from the preceding section appears in the woodwinds that threatens the lyricism of the strings. The lyrical theme turns more disruptive in response to the woodwinds, and Nielsen directs the snare drum to play ad libitum thus:
The side [snare] drummer now improvises entirely freely with all possible fantasy, although from time to time he must pause.
The orchestra has divided into two sides in conflict while the snare drum tries to gain control over both, the section of the work that provoked some of the audience to walk out during the premiere in Sweden. Finally what was once a lyrical theme gains the edge sonically, subdues all the wavering as well as the snare drum. The opposing force plays quietly as the snare drum makes one last appearance. The clarinet plays softly as the chaos is now over as the first movement ends in a hush.

II. The second movement is in four sections:

Allegro - The second movement begins with a loud section for full orchestra as instruments struggle against one another. Fragmentary themes come and go as the music keeps moving forward until it finally runs itself out and segues into the next section without pause.
Presto -  A rapid fugue begins in the violins and makes its way through the string choir before it continues in the woodwinds and brass. The fugue dwindles down and segues into the next section.
Andante un poco tranquillo -  Another fugue, this one more calm in nature. A climax is reached near the end of the section and the music transitions directly to the final section.
Allegro - The final section is full of busy music that once again has to work through conflict before it reaches the final chord of the work.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 6 In B Minor 'Pathetique'

Pyotr Tchaikovsky conducted the premiere of his final symphony on October 28, 1893 in St. Petersburg. Nine days later he died, and the rumors still persist concerning what were the causes of his death. The rumors were fanned by the Sixth Symphony itself, titled Pathetique (in this particular sense meaning emotional and suffering) especially in the mournful, dying music of the last movement.

At first his death was attributed to the cholera epidemic of the time and from the beginning the idea of suicide made the rounds, while modern scholarship retains the theory of suicide with an added explanation; Tchaikovsky was called to a court of honor over his homosexual affairs especially with a Russian noble, and offered the options of taking his own life or having the affairs made public.  The jury is still out on all of that. Tchaikovsky himself said there was a program behind the symphony, but he never divulged what it was. It all remains a great perhaps, but while the story of the meaning behind the symphony most likely will never be known for certain, Tchaikovsky left behind one of the masterworks of the symphonic literature.

Symphony No. 6 In B Minor is in 4 movements:

I. Adagio – Allegro non troppo - The symphony begins in the black tones of a solo bassoon accompanied by the strings. This continues with changes of instrumentation for 18 measures before the first theme is heard in the strings and then the winds. There is an extended working out of secondary material as the music steadily builds in tension and movement. The music begins to fade as transitional material leads to the actual second theme which is heard in muted violins in the key of D major. This theme also goes through an extended working out of minor material. The second theme reappears in a more passionate version, after which the music gradually gets softer and a clarinet takes up the beginning of the second theme and repeats it ever softer until it hands the last half measure to the solo bassoon, which Tchaikovsky directs to play in what must be one of the most radical dynamic markings in all of classical music:
After a very short fermata on the last almost imperceptible D of the bassoon, the orchestra shouts out in double forte short transitional material that announces the development section where a fragment of the first theme is given a fugal treatment. A brief new theme acts as a bridge back to fragments of the first theme that build to a tremendous clamor. In a descent that is almost painful the music gradually works down to the depths of despair in the low brass.  With the first theme getting most of the attention in  the development, Tchaikovsky doesn't repeat it in the recapitulation but goes directly to the second theme, which appears with an agitated accompaniment in the low strings. The theme builds in passion and slowly fades in volume. A solo clarinet takes up the theme once again, and leads to the coda which takes on the characteristics of a march as the music gently dissolves.

II. Allegro con grazia -  The second movement is in contrast to the preceding movement.  Tchaikovsky writes the entire movement is 5/4 time, 2 beats alternating with 3 beats, but the music flows smoothly despite the irregular meter.  A middle section in B minor breaks the lyricism of the theme as the timpani beats out a steady rhythm under the throbbing strings. After this interlude, the dancing theme skips its way to a coda that refers to the middle section before it gently ends.

III. Allegro molto vivace -  The third movement is in even more contrast to what has gone before and what is to come. It is a march/scherzo that begins softly and builds throughout the movement until the march theme is played in full volume along with cymbal crashes and grand thumps from the bass drum and timpani until it ends with a roar. Contrary to concert tradition and etiquette, in live performances this movement many times causes the audience to erupt in applause that is almost a release of tension this music can create.

IV. Finale: Adagio lamentoso – Andante - The strings begin this movement as Tchaikovsky creates a feeling of despair as the strings play the theme and accompaniment in contrary motion. The bassoons enter and drop the despair to the depths. Another theme appears in the strings in D major, but despite the major tonality the theme has its own brand of sadness. This theme builds to a climax and the bottom falls out as the strings descend to silence. The opening sighs are heard again in fragments until the string play an ascending chromatic run that returns the entire first theme. This theme continues until it turns sinister as it is accompanied by stopped horns. The brass play a short chorale and the music sinks back into the despair with which it began. A fragment of the theme is heard over and over in dynamics that sink to the very bottom of human hearing. The faint beating of a dying heart is heard in the low strings until it expires in a whisper.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Suk - Symphony No. 2 In C Minor 'Asrael'

Josef Suk was a student of Antonín Dvořák and their relationship grew into one of mutual respect and friendship. Suk was also a violinist and toured for many years with the Czech String Quartet, a group that came to have international fame and premiered many contemporary string quartets by Dvořák and Janáček.  Suk played second violin with the quartet until he retired in 1933. Suk's relationship and respect for Dvořák deepened when he married Dvořák's daughter Otilie.

Although Suk wrote some chamber music, he is most well known for his works for orchestra. His mentor Dvořák influenced his earlier works, but his style changed after 1905 to a more complex and emotional one that was brought on by the death of two people very close to him.

The first death was of his father-in-law Dvořák in 1904. He began to work on his 2nd Symphony in honor of Dvořák a few months afterwards, and titled the symphony Asrael after the Old Testament Angel of Death. As Suk was working on the symphony the unthinkable happened as his wife, Dvořák's daughter, died in 1905. Suk wrote about the double tragedy:
I was suddenly handed a telegram [when he was on tour with the Czech String Quartet]: Return immediately - Dvorak dead [1/5/1904]. I shall never forget that terrible journey to Prague. Not only was I crushed to the depths of human emotion, I was also consumed with anxiety over whether Otilka's failing heart would take it. This sad turn of events also marked a turning point in my creative work, and thus the symphony, bearing the name of the Angel of Death, Asrael, was conceived. I completed the first part of the composition, dedicated to the memory of Dvorak, but the last movement, which was to have been an apotheosis of the maestro's work, was never written. The fearsome Angel of Death struck with his scythe a second time, and into eternity departed the purest, sweetest soul of my Otilka. 
Such a misfortune either destroys a man or brings to the surface all the powers dormant in him. It looked like I might be of that first kind, but Music saved me and after a year I began the second part of the symphony, beginning with an adagio, a tender portrait of Otilka. In a very short time, and with superhuman energy, I became immersed in the terrors of the last movement which nevertheless ends in the clarity and calm of C major. Blessed be the dead. 
It's been said of this work, and about other works of mine, that they're subjective in the extreme. They do, of course, stem from life experience, but with their musical and human content they address all mankind. When, after the stormy and nerve-wracking last movement of the symphony, the mysterious and soft C major chord is heard, I often notice that it brings tears to people's eyes, and these tears are tears of relief, tears that purify and uplift - they are, therefore, not just my tears.

The 2nd Symphony 'Asrael' is in 5 movements played without a break:

Antonin Dvorak
I. Andante sustenuto -  The symphony begins with deep thumps from pizzicato basses and timpani. The cellos, violas and bass clarinet play a haunting, fragmented theme, the theme that is the kernel of the entire work. The first movement eschews sonata form for a complex form of musical ebb and climax. The first movement is haunted by the emotions Suk felt on the passing of his teacher and friend, but all is not bleak. There are some tender moments that refer to Dvořák in memory if not direct musical quotation. Before the end of the first movement, there is a huge climax after which the cellos bring back the icy, haunting theme that began the movement and closes it in quiet sorrow.

II. Andante -  A different version of the primary theme is played directly after the first movement. After it is developed a funeral march is heard in the winds. There is a fugal section played by pizzicato strings as the woodwinds push the music back to the version of the primary theme that opened the movement, after which the movement quietly expires.

III. Vivace - The scherzo of the symphony that is by turns lyrical and diabolical. The short trio is ushered in by string tremolos and ends with a piccolo. The scherzo repeats after which the music makes a descent into the lower ranges of the orchestra. A very short pause leads to a section marked andante that culminates in a dance that is lead by solo violin.  The dance reaches a climax and gently segues back into a short reference to  the version of the main theme heard in the second movement. The scherzo returns and is transformed into a fugue that is brought to a halt by thundering brass chords.

IV.  Adagio - The final two movements were written after the death of Suk's wife, and by his own admission the fourth movement is a musical portrait of his wife and the grief he felt upon her loss. The primary theme returns in the opening, followed by a gentler theme that harks back to lyrical music heard in the first movement. A solo violin helps develop this gentle theme, perhaps representing Suk the violinist and his feelings for his wife. A short section played by bassoons, oboes and double basses leads to a return of the gentle theme and its continued development.  The despair of the beginning of the movement gradually returns and ends the movement.

V. Adagio e maestoso -  Two strong climaxes begin the final movement. A short chorale followed by a dance-like theme leads to a repeat of the climax that began the movement which leads to chattering by the woodwinds.  Thumping from the basses and bass drum begin a fugue that increases in intensity until another climax is reached. Woodwinds appear from the quiet that proceeds from the climax and lead to the entrance of shimmering violins and a change of mood. The main theme as well as other thematic material is heard as the music maintains a lyrical resignation of what has happened previously and ends in quiet peace.

The 2nd Symphony 'Asrael' has always been more popular in Suk's Czech Republic than in most other concert halls of the world.  It is a work of extreme emotional content and like many other Late Romantic works was lost in the chaos of two world wars and Modern music. It is also full of technical and interpretive difficulties, but is slowly being played and recorded more often.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Brahms - Alto Rhapsody

There is hardly an artist of any era that exerted so much influence on so many others as Johann von Goethe.  A genuine Renaissance man, Goethe was a poet, dramatist, novelist, statesman and scientist. His novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, first published in 1774 was part of the Sturm und Drang period in the arts that held the seeds of the Romantic era.  Goethe was 24 years old at the time and was one of the first writers to attain international renown.

Goethe's young Werther suffered from unrequited love for a woman that was already engaged to another man, and at the end of the book Werther commits suicide. The book was somewhat autobiographical as Goethe had experienced what he had put in his novel, even up to contemplating suicide. Goethe came to dislike the book and tried to distance himself from it in later years.

Johannes Brahms read and studied Goethe's works throughout his life, and in his early years identified with Young Werther, as no doubt other young German men did.  As he grew older, he lost his identification with Werther as he resigned himself to the fact that he had no time or disposed to getting married and having a family. His art was to be his life, but he never lost his tendency to fall in love with women, or his love of Goethe's writings.

The Alto Rhapsody  was written as a wedding present for Julie Schumann the daughter of Robert and Clara Schumann. Brahms had romantic feelings towards Julie, and the work was written after he found out that she was engaged to another man.  He used three stanzas of a poem written by Goethe in 1777 entitled Harzreise im Winter - Harz Mountain Journey in Winter. The poem was based on an actual trip Goethe made in to the Harz Mountains in the dead of winter to visit one of his friends that had fallen into deep depression and spiritual crisis. The lines that Brahms used for the work deal with a misanthropic wanderer who is desolate in spirit that is lifted up and consoled as his spiritual suffering is lifted.  It was written in 1869 and presented to Clara Schumann on Julie's wedding day. Clara commented about the work in her diary:
Johannes brought me a wonderful piece... the words from Goethe’s Harzreise , for alto, male chorus, and orchestra. He called it his bridal song. It is long since I remember being so moved by a depth of pain in words and music. This piece seems to me neither more nor less than the expression of his own heart’s anguish. If only he would for once speak as tenderly!
The work is in three sections that are played without break. The first two sections are for orchestra and soloist in C minor. They depict the wandering and pain of the misanthropic man. The third section has the entrance of the male chorus, is in C major and depicts the plea of the wanderer for an end to emotional pain. 

Alto Rhapsody
Section 1.
But off apart there, who is that?
His path gets lost in the brush,
behind him the branches close again,
the grass stands straight again,
the solitude swallows him up.

Section 2.
Ah, who can heal the pain
of one to whom balsam became poison?
Who has drunk misanthropy
from the fullness of love?
First despised, now despising,
he secretly wastes
his own worth
in unsatisfying egoism.

Section 3. 
If there is in your Psalter,
Father of Love, a single tone
perceptible to his ear,
then revive his heart!
Open his cloud-covered sight
onto the thousand fountains
beside the thirsting soul
in the desert!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mussorgsky - Mephistopheles' Song Of The Flea

Mussorgsky was given piano lessons in his youth, and despite showing a remarkable gift for music was sent to officer training school to keep up the family tradition of military service. He resigned from the military when he was 20 years old to devote himself to music.  He had been born into a wealthy land-owning family, but after he resigned his military commission and the freeing of the serfs in Russia in 1861, he was forced to take a civil service job to try and make ends meet.

One area of music where Mussorgsky excelled was Russian art songs for voice and piano, as he had a definite talent for setting the Russian language to music. Mussorgsky himself wrote about his artistic aesthetic shortly before his death:
Art is a means of communicating with people, not an aim in itself.  Proceeding from the conviction that human speech is strictly controlled by musical laws, ... the function of art [is] the reproduction in musical sounds, not merely of feelings, but first and foremost of human speech.
Mussorgsky took an extended leave from his civil service job and set off with a vocalist on a concert tour of Russia in the summer of 1879.  It was while on this tour that he wrote The Song Of The Flea or to use its full name Mephistopheles' Song in Auerbach's Cellar. The words for the song were taken from a Russian translation of Part One of Goethe's Faust.  

The song deals with Mephistopheles and Faust entering a cellar where other men are drinking, and Mephistopheles tells a tale of a king that kept a flea at his court and lavished it with ornate clothing and made it a minister at court. The flea soon brought all of its relation to court where all of the royals were bitten and annoyed, but afraid to kill any of the fleas because of the king's fondness for them.

At the end of the tour, Mussorgsky and the vocalist performed the song in a public recital and it was an immediate success. After Mussorgsky's death two years later, the score to the song in Mussorgsky's hand was lost, but luckily one if his friends had copied it out. The song was printed soon after Mussorgsky's death and many orchestrations were made of it. Mussorgsky wrote some 65 songs, and the Song of The Flea is his most well-known.

The Song Of The Flea
There once was a King
who kept a flea.
A flea, a flea!
It was dearer to him than his own son.
A flea!  Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! A flea? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! A flea.
The King called the tailor: "Listen you blockhead!
For my dear friend  make a velvet kaftan".
A velvet kaftan?  He-he-he-he-he, velvet.
He-he-he-he-he kaftan, Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha, Ha-ha-ha, a velvet kaftan.
So in gold and velvet the flea was dressed,
And enjoyed total freedom in the court! He-he-he-he-he the flea!
Ha-ha-ha, Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha the flea!
The King awarded the flea the rank of a minister and gave it a medal, 
And all his relation got the same, а-hа! And the Queen herself and her ladies-in-waiting
Were disturbed by the fleas ha-ha.
The were afraid to touch them, let alone kill them,
But if one bites us, we'll smash it! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha ha-ha-ha...

The first video is a rendition of the original version for soloist and piano, while the second video is an orchestration of the work by Rimsky-Korsakov



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