James Behr completed Rhapsody Tableaux in 2007 following the loss of his stepfather, Leo Breslau, a gifted artist whose works are displayed throughout the U.S. The word “tableaux” (in French, picturesque scenes) was chosen to honor Mr. Breslau and reflects Rhapsody: a series of colorful musical vignettes. In this melodic work with moods ranging from jazzy to profound, Behr creates a uniquely American musical tableaux, a style he calls Blue Age. Rhapsody follows sonata-allegro form, opening with a melodic idee fixe that becomes its foundation. The idee fixe is often heard in varying moods. Following the lush introduction is a pulsating second theme, which, says the composer, “Brings me to the streets of New York” (where he lives). Colorful passages follow, ranging from charming to “scherzotic.” The enchanted “Sentimental“ arrives with two romantic melodies, followed by “Misterioso” (development) with a haunting reprise of the idee fixe. Recapitulation in the finale “Glory” flows with joyful ragtime-ish episodes, driving, rhythmic passages of Rachmaninoff-like flair, then reach a thrilling, final affirmation of the idee fixe.
© Rhapsody Tableaux by James Behr. All Rights Reserved.
Recorded in Patrych Studio, NY on a Steinway D.