Three things happen in LA classical this time of year: 1) people dress up in a fit of make-believe and eat a lot of candy (because yes, classical musicians are just like real people!); 2) singers celebrate an almost freakish cluster of birthdays (you know who you are!), and 3) the area produces a multitude of requiems and other music for and about the dead.
Halloween isn’t intrinsically cemented to seasonal music: there are no skeleton-clad “boo carolers” (although maybe there should be). There are Halloween songs, of course (Monster Mash comes to mind), but they haven’t yet reached the legendary status of universal folk song or the centuries-old carol. It’s a relatively young holiday. There is, however, a long and strong classical tradition in creating events for All Saints’ and All Souls’, the liturgical holidays that follow the trick-or-treating and put the ‘een in All Hallows’ Eve.
This year is no exception, and we offer a little reminder of the beauty of these otherwise macabre thoughts: a spectacular Dies irae can offer emotional catharsis or artistic satisfaction, and the tears that may come from a well-sung Pie Jesu are often accompanied by the cleansing breath that can increase your sense of cheer through the end of the calendar.
Happy holidays, everyone. We may hit you again with that in about two months, but this is an excellent place to start.