An all-too-rare new recording from Polyphony and Stephen Layton presents highlights from the choral repertoire by four twentieth-century American giants: Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland and Randall Thompson. Framed by Thompson’s understated favourites Alleluia and Fare Well, the programme includes Bernstein’s Missa brevis, Copland’s early set of four motets, and—of course—Barber’s inimitable Agnus Dei.
"Bernstein stamps his outsize personality on every bar and regularly has you convinced it is Mahler's own" (Gramophone). Leonard Bernstein, whose performances of the Seventh were instrumental in pushing the woek towards mainstream status, conducts it here with white-hot communicative power. When he prepared the huge "Symphony of a Thousand" with the Vienna Philharmonic for the 1975 Salzburg Festival there had been only one previous Austrian performance. The DVD encompasses the exultancy of the opening movement, Mahler's setting of the final scene from Goethe's Faust, Bernstein drives the music to the final redemptive blaze of glory.
"Bernstein stamps his outsize personality on every bar and regularly has you convinced it is Mahler's own" (Gramophone). Beginning with the First Symphony, Bernstein reveals Mahler's position at the hinge of modernism, while emphasizing his emotional extremism. The uplifting Second "Resurrection" Symphony, with which Bernstein had an especially long and close association, is recorded here in a historic performance from 1973, set in the Romanesque splendour of Ely Cathedral. In the Third, Bernstein encompasses the symphony's spiritual panorama like no other conductor - with the Vienna Philharmonic players alive to every nuance.
Throughout the 1970s, conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein was invited to lead the greatest orchestras of the world in a number of concerts that since such time have become legendary. Now, these historic performances are available on DVD for the first time. This Leonard Bernstein collectors's boxed set is the ultimate concert experience on DVD, and it is also the perfect companion to the Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts DVD set.
Haydn’s Creation, the culmination of his life’s work, in a legendary 1986 performance conducted by Leonard Bernstein in the Baroque splendour of the Benedictine Abbey of Ottobeuren, Bavaria. Includes Leonard Bernstein’s spoken introduction to the performance.
“Bernstein held it all together with maximum expressive power and spirit of contemplation. A great, moving occasion.” Abendzeitung (Munich) [concert review]
“The Creation gives us time to remember – and rejoice in – the purity and grace and fortitude of Nature, to restore our souls, to recover our moral strength, and to rediscover our power to praise” (Leonard Bernstein)
This DVD is a fascinating document of a great conductor and orchestra playing two of the most underrated of Shostakovich's symphonies in 1985 and 1986 concerts in Vienna's Musikverein. In his spoken preface to the Sixth Symphony, Bernstein says he wants to "right a wrong"–the "wrong" being the work's reputation as unstructured lightweight piece. The Haydnesque Ninth, despite idiosyncratically slow tempos is light and humorous, its sardonic touches here relished by Bernstein.
The Vienna Philharmonic isn't the ideal band for Shostakovich but Bernstein makes them play beyond their natural inclinations; here they lack only a bit more vulgarity in the brass and percussion to be fully idiomatic. The net result is a pair of deeply felt, emotionally powerful performances. Extras include Bernstein's cogent spoken prefaces to the works.
Bernstein recorded Gershwin's "American in Paris" and "Rhapsody in Blue" in the late '50s with the same NY Philharmonic playing here. That LP (later transferred to CD) was superlative in every way. In this DVD, he conducts both works in the Royal Albert Hall in London, with the same orchestra as the LP. The results are the same.
To celebrate Leonard Bernstein's 90th birthday, Deutsche Grammophon has issued a number of musically and historically important performances on DVD. These DVDs document the astonishing talent and virtuosity of Bernstein in a variety of works. The concerts are taken from the 1970s and 1980s and many include Bernstein's educational introductions to the pieces. His invaluable ability to communicate music and teach the general public still astounds as much as his energy and skill on the podium.