Symphonie Fantastique, Berlioz
---"Dream of a Witches' Sabbath"---
Key: opens in C minor
Tempo: begins in "Larghetto" but later changes to "Allegro"
Time Signature: begins in 4/4
Program: The composer outlined this program as follows:
"He sees himself at a witches' sabbath, in the midst of a hideous gathering of sorcerers and monsters of every kind who have come together for his funeral. Strange sounds, groans, outbursts of laughter; distant shouts which seem to be answered by more shouts. The beloved melody appears once more, but now lost its noble and shy character; it is now no more than a vulgar dance tune, trivial and grotesque: it is she who is coming to the sabbath... Roars of delight at her arrival... She joines the diabolical orgy... The funeral knell tolls, burlesque parody of the "Dies irae", the dance of the witches. The dance of the witches combined with the "Dies irae"."
The idée fixe is transformed at this point, his beloved has become one of the witches. Played by the clarinet in 6/8 meter gigue-like rhythm, with trills and grace notes, the once amorous main theme is malformed and grotesque now. Finally, the "Dies irae" occurs in mm. 127, with a new key of C minor, intoned solemnly by the bassoons and "ophicléide", repeated by the brass choir in diminution.
The dance of the witches occurs at mm.241, in the new key of C major, with fugal texture. A mocking tone is heightened by stabbing syncopated chords and jarring dissonance. "Dance of the Witches" is then combined with the "Dies Irae", and "col legno" is employed.