TRACKS 1-7: BOCA SWEET
Boca Sweet, a 7-work suite, is the modern-day answer to the charming music of Leroy Anderson, whose classics like Sleigh Ride thrilled pops audiences for generations. The wonderful pops tradition continues.
TRACK 1. KALEIDOSCOPE OVERTURE (from Boca Sweet) • Kaleidoscope, full of vigor and swirl, reflects New York where the composer lives - diverse neighborhoods, culture, the rush, Broadway, excitement, and artistic diversity from Classical to Broadway. The ever-changing feel of Kaleidoscope reflects magnetic Manhattan.
TRACK 2. OLD VIENNA (from Boca Sweet) • Old Vienna offers a glimpse of the lost pre-World War I era, an artistic capital and cornucopia of Eastern European cultures - Hungarians, Czechs, Slavs - living in the thriving capital of Austria-Hungary. The city attracted geniuses: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss, Mahler, Freud. Hear the Gypsy violinist, a beer hall um-pah band, horses and buggies, honking cars at the onset of the 20th century... and a hint of Beethoven's fifth (hint: bells).
TRACK 3. PARIS-NOTRE DAME (from Boca Sweet) • Paris-Notre Dame depicts Paris, giving the feel of roaming avenues, cafes and nightspots brimming with can-can. Upon crossing the Seine, we enter the historic Notre Dame Cathedral, taking us to a distant past - a moment of spiritual connection. Upon exiting the cathedral, we re-enter the stirring city.
TRACK 4. FLAMENCO (from Boca Sweet) • What is more descriptive of Spanish culture? Here is a musical tribute.
TRACK 5. CHICK-ZICATO (from Boca Sweet) • Chick-Zicato (a play on "pizzicato" - plucking strings) marks a visit to a noisy barnyard. You'll hear plenty of clucking chicks and, if you listen carefully, you'll notice some are quite cultured little chicks.
TRACK 6. PERPETUAL MOTION (from Boca Sweet) • Perpetual Motion features brisk strings with flying sixteenth notes non-stop from start to end and orchestra building up steam. Hold your breath!
TRACK 7. HISPANICA (from Boca Sweet) • Hispanica reflects the flair of cultures from Spain to Mexico, from flamenco to the intimate to stirring.
TRACK 8: FANTASY LATINA (PIANO CONCERTO No. 1) • Fantasy Latina is one of Behr's more youthful works, completed when he was 29... and it feels it. This “mini” concerto in one movement opens ominously then settles into the buoyant “A” theme, a charming, rhythmically charged melody weaving in unexpected paths. The “B” section, a quirky waltz mostly in 5/4 time, flows charmingly until reaching an ominous “C” section with gravitas and dissonant twelve-tone rows. The “A” theme returns with its Hispanic flavor, swerving between meters in twos and threes culminating with a brassy conclusion.
TRACKS 9-12: THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Symphonic & Dance Excerpts from the Musical
TRACK 9: OVERTURE (from The Count of Monte Cristo) • A swashbuckling introduction foreshadowing the tumultuous story of The Count of Monte Cristo.
TRACK 10: CADEROUSSE'S DEMISE (from The Count of Monte Cristo) • This work was originally underscore for a scene from The Count of Monte Cristo. The scene was cut to simplify the complicated story, but Behr liked the dramatic music so much that he set it as an orchestra work well-suited for dance. The music depicts the plot. Caderousse, a desperate 50 year-old man resorting to crime, burglarizes Monte Cristo's mansion at midnight. His fierce partner-in-crime arrives and, looking to keep for himself Caderousse's loot, starts a knife fight. He flees after stabling Caderousse. Sirens blare as police arrive to find Caderousse dying in Monte Cristo's arms. Cristo helplessly watches Caderousse fade, shivering in pain, bleeding, gasping for breath. Following the plot, the music begins eerily (reflecting the burglar stealthily roaming in the dark), abruptly turns violent (when the knife fight starts) then turns somber as he dies.
TRACK 11: SAILORS DANCES (from The Count of Monte Cristo) • People gather at the Port of Marseilles, 1815. A trade ship arrives and relieved Sailors after a voyage through storms, joyfully leave the ship. Dances: Sailors Jig, Moors, Sicilianos, Catalan Seduction, Tumblers, Can Can.
TRACK 12: ABBE'S DEATH (from The Count of Monte Cristo) • This melodic but morose work depicts the death of the elderly Abbe Faria, close friend of Edmund while in prison. It is a reprise of a song the Abbe sang prior in the musical, now transformed into a dirge.
TRACK 13: NEWSPAPERS! (from The Count of Monte Cristo) • Newspapers play a large role in the ruin of Monte Cristo's foes, whose crimes and past ruthlessness are exposed in Parisian newspapers. During a scene as newspaper boys trumpet breaking news, the orchestra performs this lively snippet, typifying the swashbuckling, exotic music heard throughout the musical.
TRACK 14: WALTZ (from The Count of Monte Cristo) • This is a dance sequence from Act II. Wealthy and well-dressed French aristocrats cheerfully dance to a brisk waltz at a glamorous ball hosted by the Count of Monte Cristo, who uses the ball to further his clever scheme to expose corrupt foes who had him unjustly placed in prison for 14 years.
TRACK 15: THE ESCAPE (from The Count of Monte Cristo) • After 14 years of prison misery, Edmund escapes in a sequence of events leading to being tossed from a 300 foot cliff into the Mediterranean Sea.
TRACKS 16-18: WALL STREET DREAMQUEST
Symphonic & Dance Excerpts from the Musical
TRACK 16: PROLOGUE (from Wall Street Dreamquest) • Music plays as the lead actor, David Morgan, rehearses Shakespeare lines for an upcoming admission audition for Juilliard. His father coaches him firmly, insightfully, then abuptly has a heart attack and dies as horrified David helplessly tries to help to no avail. Lights dim, music turns contemplative. We hazily see the funeral behind a scrim. People hug and console a grieving David. They filter out and he sadly stands alone. Lights up. We see a TV studio with booms, microphones and bulky cameras. Stage crew run about yelling out orders and moving sets and props. Actors in animal costumes roam. A cute brown dog draws attention, clearly the "star." Blackout. We see the actor playing the dog alone in a dressing room. He removes the dog headpiece off. It is David. He somberly places headpiece down and paces, clearly preoccupied by matters yet to be revealed. He raises a picture of his father from a table with a mirror. David sadly picks it up, stares. A knock on the door. The music stops and someone announces, "David, we're at places." David grabs the dog headpiece and rushes out. The story continues.
TRACK 17: THE AUDITION (from Wall Street Dreamquest) • Audition is the underscore for a change-of-scene as stage crew briskly move sets and an upright piano. It depicts the energy of theater as stage crew hurriedly go about their tasks. One is drawn into their world.
TRACK 18: DREAM BALLET (from Wall Street Dreamquest) • Dream Ballet is a dance sequence from Wall Street Dreamquest, a show commenting on the often cynical and money-driven nature of the corporate entertainment world. The ballet plot involves a dream by the main charactor, David Morgan, who quit his career as a brilliant but financially struggling actor to become an investment banker at his uncle's prestigious but unethical Wall Street firm. David achieves status and financial security, but he is miserable and his pregnant wife has left him. A dream addresses inner conflicts and foreshadows a path to restore his life and marriage.
TRACK 19: JOKESTER SCHERZO • This work reflects its name, Scherzo, which in Italian means “I joke” or “I play.” The word scherzo is a common movement in a symphony and sometimes a lively stand-alone work (like here). Jokester is comical, charming yet brooding. One of Behr's earlier works, it depicts a prankster kidding around, telling stories and making people smile. That said, listen and let your mind wander… and create your own story. Jokester is also well-suited for ballet.
© Boca Sweet, Fantasy Latina, The Count of Monte Cristo and Wall Street DreamQuest musicals, and Jokester Scherzo by James Behr. All Rights Reserved.
Conductors: CD or MP3 upon request