MONO: “Isle of the Dead” by Sergie Rachmaninoff

Think you know a song — old or new — that deserves a shout? Send us your suggestions and why the songs are hot. We’ll post it on the site for the world to read.

THE SONG: Isle of the Dead.

WHO: Sergei Rachmaninoff.

WHY IT’S HOT: A symphonic poem based on Arnold Bocklin’s painting, Isle of the Dead. Rachmaninoff’s version begins with a gentle sway. Waves rocking Charon’s boat as it creeps towards the isolated island. The nearer the approach the more the song builds, layer after layer. As the song reaches its climax, the song eerily quotes the plainsong Dies irae (trans. The Day of Wrath).

WANT MORE? Taking another classical theme as inspiration, Franz Schubert’s Death and the Maiden ploughs similarly fertile ground. This version is made even stronger by Gustav Mahler’s arrangement.

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