Dangerous Liaisons: The Music

Audio Teaser / Trailers  •  Malcolm Caluori  •  Music Projects  •  Running Order

Listen to a 60 sec. Dangerous Liaisons Teaser

Listen to a 5 min. Dangerous Liaisons Teaser


Full Libretto

Complete Original Concept Recording
3-CD Collectors Edition

Piano/Vocal Songbook

Malcolm Caluori 1998

On Composing the Score to Dangerous Liaisons

by Malcolm Caluori

This is a period story, and when Johnathan and I took on the project, we decided almost immediately to keep it in its original setting.  This decision led me to make several choices about how I wanted the music to sound, and the show itself to feel.  With any period in history comes a period in musical history.  With this show, at least as far as the setting is concerned, we are dealing with the specific musical atmosphere of the French Baroque, bringing with it a rich milieu of developing musical forms, the birth of chamber music and, handily enough, a strong social and artistic focus on the phenominal rise of the opera.

This Dangerous Liaisons is not a period piece; it is not a Baroque opera.  But, absent television and radio, there was a strong convergence of music with the life of the eighteenth century aristocrat, needful of entertainment. I felt that it was not only necessary, but also inevitable that the taste of the score should involve more than just mere indications of the music of the period. It was important to embroider the sounds of the time into the score in order to take the audience into the world of these characters.

So in the (unapologetically tonal) score one can expect the drama of each scene to be told using musical devices of our own time, but tinged with, say, rhythms characteristic to the period, and the sounds of a harpsichord, or perhaps a pair of recorders. Further, there are no low brass instruments in the orchestration, only horns and a single trumpet. The style is lyric drama. A number of orchestral interludes and theavy use of arioso and parlante further blurs the lines between opera and musical theatre, and a strong nod to Baroque recitative helps to lend a sense of period. You'll find, also, parody of the comic opera buffa, and the occasional spoken line glancing toward French opéra comique. The score includes instances of rondeau, minuet, and chamber music in the style of the French Baroque; and I especially enjoyed writing the polyphony of the several vocal ensembles, also derived from operatic technique.
Perhaps the boldest statement made with regard to this sensibility is to be found in the Intermedio. An entire structural element unto itself, it presents the back-story of the Marquise. Independent of the ongoing plot, this important background is presented between the two acts, in the form of a variety of vignettes involving situation drama and dance, reminiscent of the intermezzi that were performed between the acts of operas in the Baroque period, though musically it is very different. As the Italian term intermezzo evolved in meaning to later include purely instrumental works, I deliberately chose the older term intermedio, in order to specifically invoke the original practice of the mini-drama given between acts.

But even considering such stylistic references, the score also features lullaby, patter song, two big waltz numbers, Latin chant, liebestod, a mad scene, even barbershop quartet. As composer, still the drama itself must always come first. Any special elements employed should be selected and used in the service of telling the story. And this story, in particular, is so dense that there really is no room for empty indulgeance. Everything packed into the score must be functional, efficient and revealing, as well as imaginative and entertaining. Caught in a reality where one either misleads or is misled, the characters presented in Johnathan's libretto are deeply human, each navigating insecurity in a unique way. The many-layered quality of this timeless story - dynamic layers of character, atmosphere, facade and psychology - well befits today's eclectic artistic expression. Our workboxes are now stocked with such variety, of style, of color, of technique; the game of choosing for the dramatic need at hand has made this score a joy to create.

As well as composing and orchestrating the score to Dangerous Liaisons, Malcolm Caluori also cast and produced the Original Concept Recording, directed the music and vocalists and personally oversaw the coordination of all aspects of the recording process, including sound design and effects, editing, mixing, mastering, and graphic design.

Listen and Learn More!

The Complete Original Concept Recording

Complete, every note. It's just like sitting in on the whole show!

This 3CD set, the only recording available of the original version in its entirety, includes liner notes with a full reprint of Johnathan Daniel Steppe's intricate and compelling original libretto, and features Malcolm Caluori's dramatic draft orchestrations.  The talented cast includes Shaun Whitley's amazing Valmont and powerhouse Maura Carey Neill as the Marquise.

DL Songbook (2nd Edition)

Official Selections (Piano/Vocal)

Specially adapted authoritative arrangements by the composer. 2nd Edition

A unique volume, the Dangerous Liaisons Official Selections contains solos and duets for all voice types, hand chosen by the librettist and composer. Based on the original orchestrations, the arrangements have been specially adapted by the composer himself specifically for independant vocal performance with piano. A distinctive (and affordable) joy for professionals and musical theatre enthusiasts alike!

Limited Time, save over 45% when you get the Dangerous Liaisons CD!

Click here to learn more about this item.

Intermedio (Full Score)

The Intermedio (In Full score)

The unforgettable Reflections sequence, including its Prelude.

The original version of the powerful "Intermedio" from Dangerous Liaisons, in Full Score. Music by Malcolm Caluori. Libretto by Johnathan Daniel Steppe. For solo mezzo-soprano, mixed voices and orchestra. The Marquise de Merteuil recounts a series of brief episodes from her life and childhood in a dramatic explanation of her wickedness.

This item discontinued, to be replaced by the revised "Intermedio" with final orchestrations.

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1.  PROLOGUE: The Vow

      A.  Andiamo Udire il Mare

      B.  At the Opera

      C.  Volanges’ Supper Party

      D.  Gercourt – The Vow


     ACT I

3.   Correspondences:

      A.  The Shoemaker

      B.  The Warning to Tourvel

      C.  Like a Rosebud

      D.  Something More Than Love

4.   Madame de Tourvel

5.   The Deal

6.   The Chevalier Dançeny

7.   Hunting

8.   The Village

9.   I Found a Letter

10.  Valmont’s Arrival

11.  Mail

12.  The Game

13.  The Plan

14.  In the Garden

15.  The Meeting – If Only

16.  A Quandary

17.  Merteuil’s Recitative

18.  Letters from Dançeny

19.  Unfinished Work – If He Were Here

20.  Merteuil’s Success

21.  Correspondences (Reprise): “Guardian Angel”

22.  Valmont’s Return

23.  Confrontations

24.  The Garden Song

25.  The Fires Within

26.  The Key

27.  She Closes Her Eyes

28.  The Seduction

29.  A Simple Time

30.  Cécile’s Confession

31.  Finale: Secrets


32.  Prelude

33.  Reflections

       ACT II 

34.  The Storm

35.  The Nature of Man

36.  Valmont’s Recitative

37.  Rumors

38.  Seasons Running From Ourselves

39.  Forever

40.  A Heart to Run to

41.  The Lioness

42.  Valmont’s Success

43.  Motherhood

44.  Correspondences:

       A.      Friendship and Love

       B.       When My Heart’s Most Torn

       C.      An Episode in Secrecy

       D.      A Story

45.  Speak Gently

46.  The Game (Reprise)

47.  It’s Not My Fault

48.  Soliloquy

49.  Promise Me Anything

50.  The Argument

51.  Salve Regina – The Veil is Torn

52.  The Duel

53.  When Silence Reigns

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Benefit by working with the creators! Ask about Dangerous Liaisons Training Recordings for your production. Get fully detailed custom music training led by the composer and designed for the cast of the Original Concept Recording - now available to you! Training includes 7 Principal Roles, Chorus (SA) and Chorus (TB)

Find more audio and photos, plus manuscript excerpts and other behind the scenes background and goodies (collaborative conversations, cast auditions and more) in The Privy.


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