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Béla Bartók's large-scale work for tenor, baritone, double mixed choir and orchestra tells the story of a father and his nine sons, who go out to hunt a stag but are themselves transformed into deer in the process. The Cantata profana, subtitled “The Magical Deer”, was written in 1930 and inspired by Romanian Christmas stories, using pagan and mythological motifs to combine natural, didactic and symbolic elements in the story. The strictly rhythmic narration of the choir and the sharp, melismatic statements of the soloists form a multi-facetted contrast.