Well Sarah, your comment intrigued me so I did a little research on this topic because I like Classical music too and I never heard of this before! Now dear readers, I know I lost some serious Goth points here so don't rat me out to the Secret Goth Cabal now, OK?
There is indeed a Classical piece called Danse Macabre and it was composed by Camille Saint- Saëns. It was originally a tone poem written by Henri Cazalis with orchestra.The poem was based off of Danse Macabre (dance of death, images depicting death summoning people from their graves).
In 1874, the composer removed the vocals and replaced them with the violin. According to superstition, Death appears every year on Halloween and summons the dead from their graves to dance with him while he plays the fiddle (represented in the musical piece by the violin). The skeletons dance with death until the rooster crows at dawn the following morning. Then the dead must return to their graves until next year. The piece begins with a harp, simply playing the D note twelve times to symbolise the 12 strokes of midnight. The xylophone in the piece is to represent the rattling of the bones from the skeletons.
Sounds like part of the soundtrack to those Addams Family movies, doesn't it?
An English translation of the poem follows:
- Zig, zig, zig, Death in cadence,
- Striking a tomb with his heel,
- Death at midnight plays a dance-tune,
- Zig, zig, zag, on his violin.
- The winter wind blows, and the night is dark;
- Moans are heard in the linden trees.
- White skeletons pass through the gloom,
- Running and leaping in their shrouds.
- Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking,
- You can hear the cracking of the bones of the dancers.
- A lustful couple sits on the moss
- So as to taste long lost delights.
- Zig zig, zig, Death continues
- The unending scraping on his instrument.
- A veil has fallen! The dancer is naked.
- Her partner grasps her amorously.
- The lady, it's said, is a marchioness or baroness
- And her green gallant, a poor cartwright.
- Horror! Look how she gives herself to him,
- Like the rustic was a baron.
- Zig, zig, zig. What a saraband!
- They all hold hands and dance in circles.
- Zig, zig, zag. You can see in the crowd
- The king dancing among the peasants.
- But hist! All of a sudden, they leave the dance,
- They push forward, they fly; the cock has crowed.
- Oh what a beautiful night for the poor world!
- Long live death and equality!