The Tarantula

A couple years ago, we posted a fun ballet about the appetites of an ambitious arachnid: The Spider’s Banquet by Albert Roussel (you can hear it here). It debuted in 1912, and in the story the spider is cheated out of part of his dinner by a praying mantis.

It turns out Roussel’s ballet is not the only classical piece written to celebrate the exploits of a spider. Robert Muczynski, born in Chicago in 1929, wrote many pieces for the piano and one in particular, from about fifty years after The Spider’s Banquet, focused on the life of a fuzzy, eight-legged creature.

the tarantula

Muczynski composed this piece while living in Tucson in the early 60s. This recording of Fuzzette, The Tarantula is performed by Robert Kaksa (narrator), Curtis Webb Coffee (flautist), Roberta Eaton (alto saxophonist) and the composer himself at the piano. It was released on the San Francisco label Music Library Recordings.

The story of Fuzzette has a fairly familiar moral: love yourself for who you are, fur (or lack thereof) and all. It’s a far more romantic story than Roussel’s ballet about insects fighting over a meal.

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