Charles Gounod’s Marche Funèbre d'une Marionnette (Funeral March of a Marionette) is originally a piano piece. It’s well-known to many people, as it was used as the theme music to the Alfred Hitchcock Hour. It has a wonderful macabre, yet playful atmosphere. The piece works very well for cello quartet. Due to the grotesque mood of the music the general range is low, and the lilting, staccato nature of the piece suits the cello admirably. The tune is extraordinarily catchy, and, as a personal note, for many years I’ve used thinking of this piece to drive out other music that is stuck in my head. Gounod includes a few programmatic references in the score. He refers to the marionette being broken at the outset. Then follows a funeral cortége, (the main tune) likely composed of the other marionettes in the company, who at one point pause to refresh themselves before returning home.
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