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Charles Gounod - Funeral March of a Marionette

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Uploaded on Oct 24, 2009

Charles Gounod (1818-1893)

The "Funeral March of a Marionette," slight as it is, has never lost its charm. It was originally written as one of the movements of a Suite Burlesque, which was never completed.

BBC Philharmonic conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier

The music in the beginning is supposed to tell the listener that two of the members of the Marionette troupe have had a duel and one of them has been killed. A party of pallbearers is organized and the procession sets out for the cemetery in march time. The music soon takes on a more cheerful spirit, for some of the troupe, wearied with the march, seek consolation at a wayside inn, where they refresh themselves and also descant upon the many virtues of their late companion. At last they get into place again and the procession enters the cemetery to the march rhythm -- the whole closing with the bars intended to reflect upon the briefness and weariness of life, even for marionettes.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents is well known for its title sequence. The camera fades in on a simple line-drawing caricature of Hitchcock's rotund profile. As the program's theme music, Charles Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette, plays, Hitchcock himself appears in silhouette from the right edge of the screen, and then walks to center screen to eclipse the caricature. He then almost always says "Good evening."

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