Leonard Bernstein: America's Maestro

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
This is a quickie reissue of some of Leonard Bernstein's 1960s recordings of his own work. It has no liner notes whatsoever, and the title "America's Maestro" seems rather slapdash -- although Bernstein is conducing these performances, the focus is really on his music rather than his celebrated role as conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Bernstein does, it's true, does provide a counterexample to the maxim that composers make poor interpreters of their own works. He balances his brassy popular rhythms with the larger symphonic dimensions of his music, and these are, in general, vivacious, appealing performances without a hint of composerly self-indulgence. But the ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
This is a quickie reissue of some of Leonard Bernstein's 1960s recordings of his own work. It has no liner notes whatsoever, and the title "America's Maestro" seems rather slapdash -- although Bernstein is conducing these performances, the focus is really on his music rather than his celebrated role as conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Bernstein does, it's true, does provide a counterexample to the maxim that composers make poor interpreters of their own works. He balances his brassy popular rhythms with the larger symphonic dimensions of his music, and these are, in general, vivacious, appealing performances without a hint of composerly self-indulgence. But the main question for the potential buyer of this disc is whether it provides a good selection of Bernstein's music. The answer is affirmative. With "On the Town," the "Symphonic Dances from West Side Story" and the jazzy "Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs" included, the scales might seem to be tilted toward the popular side of Bernstein's output, but Bernstein's performances make clear the extent of the interpenetration of his populist side and his Harvard-trained, ultimately Franco-American classical style. Sample the "Symphonic Dances from West Side Story," a work less often heard than it used to be; listen specifically to the dryly graceful orchestration of "Maria," track 9, which is quite a distance from the original tune in the musical. And his fast numbers in "West Side Story" work above all because of their angular rhythmic profiles. One wishes in this sectarian day and age for an excerpt from the ecumenical "Mass," but otherwise this is a good introduction to Bernstein's music. Had it been treated with more respect by Sony, it would have done more to show new audiences the music of the man who was perhaps the last composer to resist the division of the American audience into musical subcultures.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/5/2005
  • Label: Sony Special Product
  • UPC: 079899298928
  • Catalog Number: 92989
  • Sales rank: 135,018

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Overture to Candide, for orchestra - Leonard Bernstein & Leonard Bernstein (4:14)
  2. 2 Prelude, Fugue & Riffs, for clarinet & jazz ensemble - Leonard Bernstein & Leonard Bernstein (7:51)
  3. 3 Symphonic Dances (9) from "West Side Story", for orchestra (orchestrated with Ramin & Kostal) - Leonard Bernstein & Leonard Bernstein (20:56)
  4. 4 Dance Episodes (3) from "On the Town", for orchestra - Leonard Bernstein & Leonard Bernstein (9:53)
  5. 5 Chichester Psalms, for boy soloist, chorus & orchestra: 1. 108 (Verse 2) / Psalm (100) Complete - Leonard Bernstein & Leonard Bernstein (3:35)
  6. 6 Symphony No.2 ("The Age of Anxiety"), for piano & orchestra or 2 pianos: Masques - Leonard Bernstein & Leonard Bernstein (4:34)
  7. 7 Symphony No.2 ("The Age of Anxiety"), for piano & orchestra or 2 pianos: Epilogue - Leonard Bernstein & Leonard Bernstein (8:06)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Leonard Bernstein Primary Artist
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