Music Well – Dosia McKay, Composer, Painter, Writer

Reflections on Art and Life

Danse Macabre – New Music for Piano Trio

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(A sample from a live performance by Paula Farias Bujes, violin, Pedro Huff, cello, and Eva Elizabeth Holder, piano, March 29, 2009.)


I am pleased to announce a new composition for violin, cello, and piano entitled “Danse Macabre“.

Danse Macabre, a dance of death, is a late medieval allegory of the universality of death. Ravished by the horrors of the 14th century, such as famines, wars, and the Black Plague, Europe was constantly reminded of the brevity and fragility of life.

Paintings of that period personify death and depict it as a skeleton or a decaying body leading people from the highest ranks of the medieval hierarchy (a pope and emperor), down to its lowest (beggar, peasant and child), in a procession or a grotesque dance. The allegory of the dance with death is also present in plays and poetry of that period. Artists throughout the centuries have been fascinated by this theme as well.

The present work follows in this tradition. It is my personal, emotional reaction to our society’s quiet and “disinfected” way of dealing with death and grief. It is an expression of senselessness and bewilderment after losing a young friend to the grip of death.

Tara was 25 years old. She was kind and full of joy. She knew what she wanted; she was ready to settle down and have a family. She was only waiting to meet the right guy. We talked about it often. Then she met someone. It was going to be so simple and beautiful. And then one Saturday morning I received a phonecall. Tara has died in a car crash. I grieve for you Tara, in my own unique way.

©2007 Dosia McKay
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*Image source: “The Dance of Death” (1493) by Michael Wolgemut, from the Liber chronicarum by Hartmann Schedel.

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This entry was posted on January 13, 2007 by in New Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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