Bernstein Conducts Bernstein: Serenade; Songfest

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Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Songfest was one of Leonard Bernstein's most ambitious works -- a 12-song cycle on American poetry for six vocalists heard in solos, duets, trios, and sextets and orchestra, commissioned for the bicentennial but not completed until the following year. Traveling from the Puritans to the Beats and stopping off at Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, e.e. cummings, Gertrude Stein, and many others along the way, the poetic program deliberately encompasses a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, embracing multiculturalism well before it became a buzzword. But when Clamma Dale, Rosalind Elias, Nancy Williams, Neil Rosenshein, John Reardon, and Donald Gramm -- who all...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
Songfest was one of Leonard Bernstein's most ambitious works -- a 12-song cycle on American poetry for six vocalists heard in solos, duets, trios, and sextets and orchestra, commissioned for the bicentennial but not completed until the following year. Traveling from the Puritans to the Beats and stopping off at Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, e.e. cummings, Gertrude Stein, and many others along the way, the poetic program deliberately encompasses a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, embracing multiculturalism well before it became a buzzword. But when Clamma Dale, Rosalind Elias, Nancy Williams, Neil Rosenshein, John Reardon, and Donald Gramm -- who all sang at the 1977 premiere as well as this recording from the same year -- come together for the closing sextet, the many strands are woven together into the proverbial melting pot of unity. The best songs here display the same lyrical abundance that marks Bernstein's work for Broadway, while his classical side comes through in unexpected ways -- for instance, the jazzy "Pennycandystore Beyond the El" is subtly written using 12-tone techniques. Also featured on this reissue is an earlier work from Bernstein's "serious" career though one laced with plentiful wit, the Serenade After Plato's "Symposium". Despite its title, this is actually one of the most substantial American violin concertos of the 20th century; Gidon Kremer is, as always, a supremely eloquent soloist in this 1979 recording with the composer conducting the Israel Philharmonic.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/12/2000
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • UPC: 028944795721
  • Catalog Number: 447957

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–5 Serenade (after Plato's Symposium), for violin & orchestra - Leonard Bernstein & Leonard Bernstein (29:30)
  2. 6–17 Songfest, song cycle for 6 singers & orchestra or piano - Leonard Bernstein & Leonard Bernstein (42:28)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Leonard Bernstein Primary Artist
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