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My daughter is currently practicing a piano version of Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens (so I have it in my head). The other day, I heard a baroque piece for violin and recorder. At one point, the violin played what sounded to me to be the opening violin melody of the Saint Saens; same dissonance, same rhythm, etc. Of course I failed to capture the coordinates of the piece. Does anyone out there recognize this so as to be able to identify the baroque piece?

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It's quite possible. You're not going to find anything too similar though, due to the highly individual and romantic style of Saint-Saens' piece. – Noldorin May 14 '11 at 14:30
@Ras I started there. I didn't spot anything in the Danse Macabre page on wikipedia, did I miss something, or is there some interesting connection drawn on some other page? – bmargulies May 14 '11 at 14:58
What about the musical examples at the very end of the page? There's one from 1598! That's not the piece you are looking for, but it shows that the theme is old, very old! – Raskolnikov May 14 '11 at 15:06
Please help to decide whether song identification questions are welcome by voting here. – Tom Wijsman May 14 '11 at 18:39
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Saint-Saens Danse Macabre uses the Dies Irae, a plainchant that dates back to the middle ages.

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This was discussed in the comments to the question -- do you have anything further to add? – Matthew Read Nov 25 '11 at 19:38
Yes. Knowing that Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre is based on the Dies Irae allows one to search for all pieces based on this chant. Wikipedia, for instance, gives a list of composers who wrote a Requiem Mass during the Baroque period: Giovanni Francesco Anerio, Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, André Campra, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Johann Joseph Fux, Jean Gilles, Antonio Lotti (Requiem in F Major), Claudio Monteverdi (lost), Michael Praetorius, Heinrich Schütz, Jan Dismas Zelenka. I understand this is not a vocal work the asker is looking for, but it will point him in the direction. – Reina Abolofia Nov 25 '11 at 23:37

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