Here is Leonard Bernstein, full scale and fully alive -- the child prodigy, the man, the composer, the teacher, the hugely charismatic personality, the lover, the American folk hero.
Everything is here: the child growing up in a Hasidic family in Massachusetts, his father a rabbi's son; his first piano at age nine ("I remember touching it ... It was my contact with life, with God"); his reluctant, brilliant, argumentative years at Harvard; the rocky but exhilarating start of his career (scant jobs, no money, but friendships with Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Judy Holliday, Comden and Green, et al.); his spectacular debut (understudy into a star!) as substitute conductor at the New York Philharmonic; the great career over the years as a composer in classical music (the Kaddish Symphony, Chichester Psalms, Songfest), and in musical theater (On the Town, Wonderful Town, Candide, West Side Story, Mass, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue).
We see Bernstein: the good father to his three children, the man who adored his wife, Felicia Montealegre, the man who adored men, the brilliant and generous mentor, the temperamental artist, the hypochondriac, the politician, the businessman, the Pied Piper ...
His life, his music, the great international cultural world in which he traveled, are richly and vividly portrayed in this magnificent biography, alive with music -- and with life.
|Publisher:||Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated|
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