Compact Discoveries®
a series of one-hour radio programs produced, written, hosted, and edited by Fred Flaxman
©2004 by Compact Discoveries, Inc.

Program 66
"Dracula"

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "The Messenger" from Dracula [all music in this program is from Dorian Recordings xCD-90283] [under the following]

Welcome to Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide Fred Flaxman, and during the next hour we're going to listen to the premiere recording of music to the ballet Dracula by Anthony DiLorenzo. The performance is by Proteus 7 on a Dorian compact disc.

MUSIC: above piece fades out

Before we begin, a few words about Count Dracula, the main inspiration for Bram Stoker's famous novel. The Count was born in Romania in 1431, the son of the military governor of Transylvania. It was his father who was called Dracul, which is Romanian for dragon. That was because of his membership in the Order of the Dragon, a fraternal order supposedly dedicated to promoting Catholicism and doing away with Turkish rule. The order had a red ceremonial costume with a black cape. Dracul's son was called Dracula, meaning "son of Dracul."
This son of a Dracul ordered people to be skinned, boiled, decapitated, blinded, strangled, hanged, burned, roasted, hacked, nailed, buried alive and stabbed. He also liked to cut off noses, ears, sexual organs and limbs. But his favorite method was impalement on stakes. What's missing from history is any indication that Dracula was a vampire. That came from the imagination of Bram Stoker.

Act One of Anthony DiLorenzo's ballet begins with ominous chords played to a closed curtain. When the trumpets sound their first heroic chord, the curtain opens and we see the castle in the background and hear the Dracula theme - a dark, menacing march. An unusual instrument called the theremin is introduced here to represent the castle with its dark, menacing feeling of weirdness.

The theremin is one of the first electronic instruments. It was invented in 1919 by Leon Theremin. It sounds like a metallic whistle, and the player controls it with hand movements near two antennas. One controls pitch, the other volume. If you've seen any horror movies, you have probably heard this device before.

Here, then, is Proteus 7 and the opening scene of Dracula: The Castle.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "The Castle" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 1]

"The Castle" from Dracula by Anthony DiLorenzo, performed by Proteus 7 on a Dorian CD.

The next scene from the ballet is called "Vampires Race Home." A half-dozen vampires jostle to get back to the castle where a hierarchy of vampires is appointed with Dracula leading the group. We meet his henchmen, the castle guards and various other characters dressed in royal garb.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "Vampires Race Home" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 2]

Next comes the "Dance of the Gypsies." In this scene a jaunty, minor-key melody with off-beat tambourine introduces the gypsies, who are watching a riveting dance between Sándor and Laszlo. Sándor is the father of Miranda, while Laszlo is the man Sándor has chosen to be Miranda's husband. Unfortunately, as is usually the case in ballets, operas and even real life, she is not in love with him. The scene starts with the two men, and eventually all the gypsies join the dance.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "Dance of the Gypsies" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 3]

The next piece in DiLorenzo's ballet version of Dracula is called the "Waltz of the Dead." With its crooning theremin enhancement, this is a waltz you dance to looking over your shoulder. Little brass punctuations and sardonic trumpet commentary add to its foreboding. It's played while the gypsies mock the stories about what occurs in the castle.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "Waltz of the Dead" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 4]

Dracula's next scene takes place in the castle, where we see the change of the castle guards. In the background we see a solo dance with Dracula, during which he sees Miranda in a vision. He knows she is out there somewhere and he wants her.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "Castle Guards & Dracula's Passion" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 5]

The next movement shows Dracula thinking about how to get Miranda to the castle. He doesn't want to go out on his own into the forest, so he tries to reach her with telepathy. That's the best he can do, since he doesn't have a cell phone, but it doesn't work. So he sends his henchmen to capture her, but they are transformed into bats.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "Dracula's Deceptive Plan" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 6]

The henchmen, transformed into bats, fly through the forest to find Miranda, but Laszlo discovers them. He is eventually killed and Act One of Dracula, the ballet, comes to an end.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "Bats Take Flight & Trapped with no Escape" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 7]

You are listening to music from the ballet Dracula by Anthony DiLorenzo on Compact Discoveries. I'm your guide, Fred Flaxman. The performance is by Proteus 7 on a Dorian Recordings CD.

[optional break not included in total timing]

Act Two of Dracula finds us still in the forest. Dracula's first plan to bring Miranda to the castle did not work, so he now sends his messenger out to the gypsy tribe to invite them to a ball.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "The Messenger" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 8]


The next piece from the ballet is called "Gypsy Caravan." An entourage of gypsies heads over the mountain to Dracula's castle in a slow, horse-drawn journey.


MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "Gypsy Caravan" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 9]

The Gypsies arrive at Dracula's castle and walk through the ghoulish gardens, where the bushes are dark and you can't really tell what's in them. The nervous chattering of muted instruments in the background undermines a pleasant, serene theme in the low brass.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "The Guests Arrive" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 10]

The Gypsies enter the party and meet the vampires, which are dressed in ghoulish costumes doing a peculiar dance. This is a surprisingly fun section, light and bouncy, but it still foreshadows the danger ahead.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "Parade of Ghouls" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 11]

"The Parade of Ghouls" from Dracula by Anthony DiLorenzo.

The next piece in the ballet is called "The Grand Waltz." A touch of Shostakovich is heard in this sharp-edged waltz. As the vampires partner the gypsies on the dance floor, they begin their ghoulish work. Each vampire bites its partner on the neck and drags the victim away. At the finish, Miranda is swept away by Dracula, intrigued by this silent man who has finally persuaded her to go with him to his chambers.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "The Grand Waltz" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 12]

Dracula next seduces Miranda to an almost Impressionistic set of chords, sweetly underscored by the marimba. She is falling in love with him, although she still does not fully understand who he is. To her, Dracula is someone of power; handsome and very convincing, and she is a simple gypsy. Being everything she is not, he entrances her.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "The Seduction" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 13]

"The Seduction" from Dracula by Anthony DiLorenzo.

The next piece is called, appropriately, "Run for Your Life." In this scene the bloodbath begins. The gypsies are getting killed throughout the castle as they realize that the grand ball was a grand deception. In Dracula's chambers, Miranda is just about to kiss the Count -- and he is about to bite her neck -- when she notices a scarf which belonged to Laszlo. Miranda suddenly understands who Dracula is, and knows from legend that he is a vampire.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "Run for Your Life" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 14]

We come to the "Finale" of Dracula now. Miranda is in love with Dracula, but cannot submit to him. She knows that she is trapped and has only one escape -- to kill herself. At the same time, the other vampires have begun to realize what is happening. They sense Dracula is in love with Miranda, and that angers them. Dracula is weakened by his love of Miranda. The others decide to revolt. They enter Dracula's chambers as Miranda is killing herself.

The music changes, getting quieter and more ominous as they move in on Dracula. The chords start building again with an added chime as the vampires completely surround Dracula. When they move apart, he is gone -- completely devoured.

MUSIC: DiLorenzo: "Finale" from Dracula [Dorian Recordings xCD-90283, track 15]

And so ends the ballet Dracula by Anthony DiLorenzo. The performance was by Proteus 7 on a Dorian compact disc. The program notes, from which I borrowed extensively with permission, were by Byron Nilsson and Hans Bohn.

I hope you've enjoyed this hour of Compact Discoveries. Compact Discoveries is a production of Compact Discoveries, Inc., and a presentation of WXEL-FM, West Palm Beach, Florida.

 
  2009 Compact Discoveries