Demons,Spooks and Other Things That Go Bump in the Night
By James Andrewes
To celebrate Halloween, the Grim Reaper organizes a deathly music party, to which he invites the spirits of his favorite deceased composers. As each one arrives throughout the night, the Reaper conjures up the sounds of that composer’s music.
Upon Beethoven’s arrival, strains of his famous Triple Concerto, op. 56, ring out.
Shostakovich walks in to the eerie sound of his Second String Quartet, op. 68.
As Chopin enters, a haunted, upright piano plays his Scherzo No. 3, op. 39.
Britten arrives to hear a ghostly choir wailing his Missa Brevis in D, op. 63.
Why these specific pieces? If you can figure out the Reaper’s grim logic, answer the following question: what piece of music does the Reaper produce when Elgar makes his appearance?
Think creatively and remember puzzles have no rules!
Answer: Elgar’s Symphonic Prelude Polonia, op. 76
The opus number for each work corresponds to the age at which the composer died.
Beethoven: died age 56; Triple Concerto, op. 56
Shostakovich: died age 68; String Quartet No. 2, op. 68
Chopin: died age 39; Scherzo No. 3, op. 39
Britten: died age 63; Missa Brevis in D, op. 63
Since Elgar died age 76, the Reaper played his symphonic prelude Polonia, op. 76