Der Gevatter Tod

This is about a story of a physician, who was the 13th child in a poor family and Death. The key of this piece is in D minor - a prominent key for works relating to death. However, the physician is in Eb major. The father starts off by looking for a godfather and after rejecting God and the Devil, the physician’s theme first appears in the piano as the father accepted Death as the godfather.

After the physician grows up, Death enters with a waltz which highlights the second main theme - the Dies Irae motif and the clashing key centres of D and Eb and a low F that will soon signify someone is about to die. This allows the physician to know if a person will die or survive, which quickly became famous as the orchestra reappears in a similar waltz.

Soon, the King fell ill and the low F naturals are heard. However, the physician decides to trick Death as he was his godson and hoped that Death will give him a chance and cures the King. Death gets angry over this and the Dies Irae motif can be heard before the piano comes in where Death warns the physician that this will be his only chance.

Next, the King’s daughter fell ill and promises anyone who rescued her will get to become her husband and get the crown. As the physician was too captured by this offer, he completely ignored Death and went to rescue her. However, Death would not give him another chance and drags him down to a cavern.

In the cavern, candles represent how long a person has left to live and flames jumped around and extinguished as people are born and die. The physician asks to see his candle and Death showed a candle that was about to get extinguished. This made him extremely scared and he begged Death to relight a candle for him. Death, wanting revenge, tricks the physician to think that he will have a new candle but slips, killing the physician.

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Mary had a little lamb


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Modulation waltz

A waltz that modulates through every key!

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Elegy in A minor

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