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Dance of the Dead Souls

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Vaclav Nelhybel

Vaclav Nelhybel (ed. Richardson)

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General Info

Year: 1975 / 2017
Duration: c. 7:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Barta Music
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of Print.


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Nelhybel chose as the source for this work a novel by the Russian author Nikolai Gogul (1809-1852). Gogul started writing it in 1835 and part one, titled The Adventures of Chichikov, was first published in 1842. Gogul never finished the second part, burning it nine days before his death. Uncensored versions of part one were later published under Gogul’s original title: Dead Souls: An Epic.

Dead Souls: An Epic tells of a monetary scheme by the main character, Chichikov. At that time in Russia, the government would loan money to landowners based not on acreage, but on the number of serfs (“souls”) residing on the land. Since the census was taken only once every ten years, the landowners could easily count among their serfs some who had actually been dead for quite some time. Chichikov planned to go around the countryside and purchase the rights to the “dead souls” from the landowners. Once he had acquired enough names, he would apply for an enormous loan from the government and live the rest of his life in luxury. The strategy, of course, fails and Chichikov is banished in disgrace.

- Program Note from Appalachian State University Symphony Band concert program, 23 February 2017


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Symphony Band (Kevin Richardson, conductor) – 30 April 2017
  • Appalachian State University (Boone, N.C.) Symphony Band (Kevin Richardson, conductor) – 23 February 2017 - Edition Premiere Performance*
  • The Henderson High School Band (William Revelli, conductor) – 14 April 1975 – *Premiere Performance*

Works for Winds by This Composer


None discovered thus far.