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Old 02-27-2017, 06:11 AM
Les Espaces Du Sommeil Les Espaces Du Sommeil is offline
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I'll second Ligeti's Requiem, which is, to me, the sound of pure metaphysical terror from start to finish. Well, there might be some fragile glimmer of... not hope but dead-eyed acceptance towards the very end perhaps. A terrific piece that packs quite a punch and isn't that difficult to follow as far as post WWII classical music goes.

My second choice is Scriabin's Piano Sonata No. 6, especially that recurring motif, appearing first here between 0:27 and 0:32. That's the music of nightmares. When I hear it, I always picture someone's face melting, or a mask slipping slowly to reveal a disfigured face. As a matter of fact, it seems that Scriabin himself, ever the weirdo, was terrified of it:

The mood of the piece is marked "mystérieux" by the composer, but most striking are the sudden moments of horror that interrupt its dreamlike atmosphere, explicitly marked "l'épouvante surgit" (surge of terror) by Scriabin...

According to Scriabin's biographer, Faubion Bowers, “The Sixth Sonata is a netherstar. Its dark and evil aspect embraces horror, terror, and the omnipresent Unknown. ‘Only my music expresses the inexpressible,’ Scriabin boasted, and called the Sixth’s sweet and harsh harmonies, “nightmarish… fuliginous… murky… dark and hidden… unclean… mischievous.’ When he played excerpts for friends, he would stare off in the distance away from the piano, as if watching effluvium rise from the floor and walls around him. He seemed frightened and sometimes shuddered.


His Poème-Nocturne is really creepy, too, especially the passages marked "comme une ombre mouvante" (like a moving shadow). It's like catching a glimpse of a ghost from the corner of your eye.