Bernstein at 100

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Belle
Posts: 1315
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Bernstein at 100

Post by Belle » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:41 pm

Here's a good article about this subject; one of many more, I expect, to come this year:

https://www.weeklystandard.com/joseph-h ... ind-at-100

maestrob
Posts: 5555
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by maestrob » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:45 pm

Thank-you Belle!

I must say, I find the author's characterization of Bernstein's late style to be very generous, and his description of Bernstein's years in NY as a failure rocks my world. I thought then and still do that his NY years were his best music-making, most consistently excellent: he remade the orchestra into a great ensemble during his tenure, and his recordings from that period still strike me as his best interpretations. OTOH, naming Mehta's tenure as a dark period in the orchestra's history is spot-on: Mehta's sound was coarse and stiff, and there was obvious tension between the conductor and his musicians. It was obvious that Mehta had to go, and, finally, when he had no recording contract, out he went.

Sadly, the NY Philharmonic must compete with the world's great orchestras giving their finest programs in Carnegie Hall night after night. The Philharmonic still makes fine music with guest conductors, but IMHO we have not had an inspirational conductor at the helm since Bernstein, although there have been some great performances (Shostakovich XIII with Yevtushenko reading his own poetry before each movement under Masur is one that stands out in my mind), but that's the exception that proves the rule.

Bernstein, despite his flaws, was a force of nature who made great music when he was here. While Bernstein may have felt frustrated when he resigned to go to Vienna in 1969, MHO is that our orchestra made the most consistently great & vital music of the modern era that is easily able to stand next to the legacies of Reiner and Koussevitsky.

Belle
Posts: 1315
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by Belle » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:09 pm

Some of those pictures in the essay are just lovely!! Somehow I can't seem to think of the NYPO without the name 'Bernstein'. Those educational programs for television were unparalleled, in my opinion and I can remember my mother talking fondly about them (she died in 1984). (In 2011 I saw the NYPO/Gilbert at the Musikverein and it was absolutely thrilling.)

Bernstein clearly had an affection for the "professors" of the Vienna Philharmonic and this clip demonstrates that: what's not to love about a musician like this??!!! As was often the case with Carlos Kleiber, the 'smile of music' is in evidence here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oU0Ubs2KYUI

Look!! Attentive audience members who are not on their cell phones. All going according to plan, I'll be back in that very hall in 8 months.

I can't resist posting this:

http://correspondingwithcarlos.com/word ... 1&q=90&a=c

THEHORN
Posts: 2560
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:57 am

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by THEHORN » Tue May 01, 2018 2:10 pm

I don't agree about Mehta's tenure with the Philharmonic . In fact, the orchestra, especially the brass often sounded appallingly course under Bernstein and other conductors such as Mitropolous . Which is not to say they didn't do some terrific work with the orchestra .
Mehta was treated in an unbelievably vicious way by the New York critics, such as the late Alan Rich, and Peter G. Davis in New York Magazine and elsewhere . He didn't deserve this at all . And I find Joseph Horowitz to be one of the most biased, unfair and cynical observers of the contemporary classical music scene . I've rarely read any piece of his which was not full of gratuitous digs at famous conductors , opera singers and instrumentalists he doesn't like .
His specious and highly tendentious book "Understanding Toscanini " has a final chapter which insults many famous conductors , literally turning the book into a giant non-sequitur .

Belle
Posts: 1315
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by Belle » Fri May 25, 2018 5:08 am

This!! A beautifully tender song and sung exceptionally well in this recording by Richard Muenz and Dawn Upshaw:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX-qACp-G5U

John F
Posts: 19855
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by John F » Fri May 25, 2018 5:58 am

THEHORN wrote:
Tue May 01, 2018 2:10 pm
I don't agree about Mehta's tenure with the Philharmonic.
So you've often said. But can you name any of their recordings that you believe are outstanding, competing with the best? I can't, and he made a great many of them. Or did you ever attend a Mehta/NYPhil concert that you would rank among the finest in your experience? I never did. Of course I didn't go to concerts without a work unfamiliar to me or a soloist I thought highly of, so if one evening they somehow achieved a world-beating Beethoven 5th, I wouldn't have been there.

I can only testify to what my own ears have heard, and what they heard from Mehta and the Philharmonic was much like what maestrob describes. (I wasn't aware of tension between conductor and orchestra beyond the usual - has there ever been a major conductor who didn't get on the wrong side of at least some members of his orchestra, or vice versa?)
John Francis

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17621
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by Lance » Fri May 25, 2018 2:12 pm

No question in my mind, Leonard Bernstein will go down in history as one of America's (and the world's) finest conductors. His NYP recordings for me, are over all outstanding. He had the benefit of the finest recording methods available from the mono/stereo era into the digital age. And what he has left as a legacy on so many labels is overwhelming in the scope of music, collaborations, chamber music, his piano work, opera, vocal -- everything! We simply must give the man the credit that is surely due him. While I have largely his Columbia/Sony recordings and many of his DGG/EMI/RCA and odd and private recordings on various labels, I believe the man to be a musical genius, on- or off records.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Belle
Posts: 1315
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by Belle » Fri May 25, 2018 7:05 pm

Totally agree, Lance. And here's a recent item about a new biography: probably more gossip than anything else. It would be hard to beat Humphrey Burton's tome.

https://www.ludwig-van.com/toronto/2018 ... M.facebook

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17621
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by Lance » Sat May 26, 2018 1:37 am

I think we sell a lot of CDs and books on this site! I just ordered the new Bernstein book. I don't believe there has been any other conductor whose life has been published in so many books. I'm sure Bernstein was a complicated man but then geniuses often are complicated.
Belle wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 7:05 pm
Totally agree, Lance. And here's a recent item about a new biography: probably more gossip than anything else. It would be hard to beat Humphrey Burton's tome.

https://www.ludwig-van.com/toronto/2018 ... M.facebook
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

John F
Posts: 19855
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by John F » Sat May 26, 2018 3:02 am

Lance wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:37 am
I think we sell a lot of CDs and books on this site! I just ordered the new Bernstein book. I don't believe there has been any other conductor whose life has been published in so many books.
Toscanini, surely?
John Francis

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17621
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by Lance » Sat May 26, 2018 11:35 am

Well, in my own collection of books, I have 25 on Bernstein and 17 on Toscanini. Being vitally interested in both conductors, I'm sure, since his death, perhaps Toscanini has surpassed that 17 count.
John F wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 3:02 am
Lance wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:37 am
I think we sell a lot of CDs and books on this site! I just ordered the new Bernstein book. I don't believe there has been any other conductor whose life has been published in so many books.
Toscanini, surely?
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

John F
Posts: 19855
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by John F » Sat May 26, 2018 9:49 pm

Twenty-five book-length biographical works about Leonard Bernstein? I can't believe it, but if you say so...

The biographies of Toscanini in English, including Harvey Sachs's new and monumental work, are only part of that iceberg; there have been quite a few in Italian and other languages. Also quite a few books devoted to his recordings and live performances, his letters, and so on, which go into parts of his artistic biography in detail. If there are any foreign-language biographies of Bernstein, and there may be, I don't know about them.
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 1315
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by Belle » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:44 pm

This radio broadcast (available soon) should be interesting:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b5wk03

Belle
Posts: 1315
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Bernstein at 100

Post by Belle » Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:13 pm

I'd love celebrate the Bernstein centenary with something like this - a mini masterpiece:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhGINDSb6iM

And this; boy, those lyrics ("the sharp intellectual type")!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_6XiNBnra8

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 38 guests