Netflix’s Squid Game: What Classical Music in the Soundtrack?

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September 29, 2021, 12:57

Squid game.

Image: Siren Pictures Inc. / Netflix


Netflix’s new horror show “Squid Game” is filled with classical music. Listen here to the spooky soundtrack that takes on a whole new meaning thanks to the plot of this bloody South Korean survival drama.

Squid game burst onto our screen at the end of September 2021 in an explosion of blood, shock and mystery. But what audiences probably weren’t expecting was the appearance of some of the best-known works in classical music.

The show tells the story of a group of contestants who are lucky enough to earn 45.6 billion yen (£ 28.5million) playing recreation games. The trap ? If you lose, you will die.

Each competitor chose to participate in the games because they are heavily in debt, which prompts them to risk everything for the grand total.

This bloody plot is underscored by a few familiar pieces from the classical music world, and after watching this show you will never listen to these works the same way again …

Read more: The Crown season 5 – what music to expect and everything we know so far

Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto

Half an hour after the start of the first episode, players are awakened by the third and final movement of Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in E flat major.

This piece becomes a chilling theme throughout the rest of the series, drawing contestants’ attention at critical points and bringing a sense of unease to players and audiences alike.

The concerto was composed in 1796 for Haydn’s friend, the trumpet virtuoso, Anton Weidinger.

The piece was Haydn’s last major orchestral work, which is evident from the maturity and experience he brings to the composition.

It’s possible Squid games chose this piece because of the virtuoso fanfare style playing of the movement.

With marching bands often used to announce important figures, opening ceremonies like the Olympics, and to signal the start of a war, this work is an appropriate choice for a performance that combines all three themes.

Strauss’ by the beautiful blue Danube

that of Johann Strauss II An der schönen, baluen Donau, also known as The Blue Danube waltz, was originally a choral work, although the most popular arrangement is for orchestra.

Strauss had been commissioned to write the piece for the Vienna Men’s Choral Society in 1866 in order to boost the morale of the inhabitants of Vienna, due to the victory of Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War that same year.

Like war Squid game has many deaths, with nearly half of all players killed in the first episode.

The smart choice of The Blue Danube As an underscore for pre-game and post-game events, it alludes to the idea that game makers are trying to boost the morale of gamers, who like the people of Vienna in 1866 also witnessed tragic losses.

Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings

Tchaikovsky composed his Serenade for strings in C major out of his “intimate conviction”.

“It is a sincere piece and therefore, I dare think it, it does not lack real qualities,” Tchaikovsky told his patron Nadezhda von Meck in a letter about the work.

Squid game uses the waltz, the second movement, to mark the end of the second game, and the deliberation involved in forming teams for the third.

The waltz is often performed separately from the approximately half-hour’s work as it has gained popularity as a full-fledged piece. When it was created, the movement had to be repeated. Former Tchaikovsky teacher Anton Rubinstein said it was Tchaikovsky’s best play.

You can now watch the first season of Squid Game on Netflix.



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