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Danse Macabre by Saint Saens

Danse Macabre and Carnaval des Animaux were more complex arrangements than most of the key board pieces we have tackled to date. In the case of the Danse we hit upon the idea of associating a Flying Sine synth with each part which is quite effective in enhancing the eerie mood without going too far over the top. The dying note at the end was a bit of a puzzle but an angelic vox seemed to do the trick.

Most of the available Carnival files include copyright claims but the Finale and Fossils were available in orchestral form. The key here was simplification of the arrangement. The relatively percussive character of the music allowed the use of steel drums to replace the string parts but we needed the ocarina as a New World replacement for the clarinet but we found that steel drum support for that part sharpened things up.

The Moog synthesized Marimba really came into its own as xylophone replacement in Fossils because it really does sound like old bones. But we got away with less prominent version in the Finale.

Saint Saens feels like the end of an era of French academic Composers and he might not have been too pleased to know that these works have become his best known.

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