Music for a...... Happy Halloween!

Hi fellow Gizars,
Since many of you expressed enjoyment of my Clarinet Concerto, posted earlier in the year, in the spirit of the season [and, of course, further shameless self-promotion :grin:],here is a link to my composition A Gothic Overture. Hope you will enjoy the spookiness! If you play it on large speakers outside your house for the trick-or-treaters Halloween eve, it should creep them out!

This overture approximately follows the dramatic arc of the 1939 film Wuthering Heights quite well but is suitable for most gothic horror movies (with a little over-the-top humor as well) . [ BTW, 1939 was arguably the greatest year of film-making of all time, with this film, along with : Dark Victory, *Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Gone With the Wind , Love Affair ,Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka , Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz , & The Hunchback of Notre-Dame - Wikipedia]


Happy Halloween!
WhiteRaven [AKA J.C. du Tour]

Extra credit question for all boomers: Do you recognize the first measures of the main theme (after the slow intro)? (Hint: it was from a commercial jingle in the 60’s.) I used it because it was an earworm for me and also serendipitously appropriate to represent Heathcliff from the film.


That was a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing it!

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Thank you White Raven. That was just the right mood for Gothic dark tales and a good nostalgia trip … I remember being fascinated with Gothic novels, esp. ‘The Castle of Otranto’ and Wilkie Collins’ ‘Woman in White’ … it got me hooked on mysteries and sci-fi. Well done and just the right mood. Have a fun (and safe) Hallowe’en everyone :wink: :ghost: :jack_o_lantern:

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Glad you enjoyed it (and for being the first to comment too)! Again, I am humbled and appreciative of your kind words. Now, any luck on recognizing the opening measures of the Allegro :innocent:?

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Nope sorry… I don’t watch much TV and the last commercial jingle I remember is the old 70s Coca Cola commercial “I’d like to teach the world to sing…”

Thank YOU too! It makes the effort worthwhile!

This ad was from before that, I think. I will keep the question open for a while before doing the great reveal. I am a little older than you so it may have been on too early for you to have registered it, and there is no actual reason you should have kept it in memory above all the other jingles from the time! I even did a web search; got a few references to it but no audio or video clips :angry:.

Many thanks for sharing your lovely composition! We enjoyed listening very much. There was a poignancy in this that very much matches what we’ve been feeling about the horror show in which we’ve all been caught in the last few years, the decay of beauty around us, the monsters around us, the change in societal structure, etc. You’ve captured this very well, not only in envisioning the gothic horror, but also the modern horror!

You are a very talented composer!


What is it?:laughing: I searched 1960s commercials last Tuesday night​:grin:

And many thanks to you for your sentiments of appreciation and support! I agree that, although there is a quality of ironic excess in the piece, you are very perceptive in pointing out the underlying sense of poignancy, with fleeting moments of ebullient elation (second theme), followed by the loss and dissolution we inevitably face in our lives, at least in this entropic, fallen world.
Blessings to you and to all!

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I searched for it as well because I wanted to give a proper reference at the time of the "great reveal’, but without success. Since it is rather obscure, I will let the proverbial cat ot of the bag. It is from a commercial for Prestone antifreeze. The words set to this are :“Never pick up a stranger, you will put your car in danger”…followed by “buy Prestone antifreeze”. I “borrowed” this phrase from this in a similar manner to what Mozart did with the opening motif of Clementi’s B flat piano sonata Opus 24, #2, when composing his Magic Flute overture:
It is just a tune that stuck in my head as sounding oddly “classical” in the context of a jingle! However, the words are also appropriate to represent Heathcliff, since
as a boy, Heathcliff is found on the street by Mr. Earnshaw, who brings him home to live with his two children, Cathy and Hindley, and none of them were ever the same, ultimately not in a good way! So, the admonishment "never pick up a stranger’ is quite apt as is the use of this motif to represent Heathcliff and all the drama he catalyzed :scream:!


In Australia we don’t celebrate Halloween to the extent you do in the US. Although some kids do come around knocking on the door. This year there were none. I had considered dressing up as Michael Myers and greeting any should they ring the doorbell. I’m over 6’5" and of course could convince readily. Alternatively I have considered the Joker (the Heath Ledger version).

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The quality about your music that we feel is its very deep perspective on beauty.

In this particular piece, you conveyed a notion of what is felt on the part of the person who appreciates beauty, the sorrow of the loss or destruction or dissipation of that which is beautiful.

It is a very different kind of feeling from that which one gets when listening to the modern abstract composers, or those like Schonberg, who convey the actual violence of the mayhem, chaos and destruction. Your music has the quality of something very sophisticated – not the actual wreaking of the havoc and destruction – but rather, what it *feels" like when a person who appreciates and loves beauty sees someone or something else destroying that which one loves so dearly.

And yes, we did pick up the fleeting moments of joy, too, and heard them dissipate. (We loved those moments!)

You have an incredible talent on how to convey beauty, even through something sad.

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I am glad you perceived the emotional, and, in a sense, spiritual depths I was trying to convey. Although I presented it to the Forum as simply a “spooky Halloween piece”, which it certainly is, as well as a reflection of the gothic drama genre, it is to me much more than that, both in terms of musical artistry and complexity of form as well as reflecting the alienation and anomie one can feel, both personally and culturally, in our lives. In some small way, I, through my compositions, and my wife through her singing, are attempting, as Dr. Farrell encourages, to reclaim our culture, in some small way, from the negativity and decay into which we have let ourselves fall.