Although Walter, Klemperer, Horenstein and others had advocated Mahler's work, it wasBernstein's impassioned concerts and pioneering recorded cycle that finally launched theMahler revolution. The first installment was the pastoral , a vibrantperformance in which the orchestra plays its very heart out. For his soloist in the finalvocal movement, Bernstein made the inspired choice of Reri Grist, fresh from the cast of . Equally impressive is a staggeringly intense , whichfollowed in 1963 (previously on M2S-695 and unavailable on CD [.]). Any doubts as to the authenticity of Bernstein's free-wheelinginterpretations are dispelled by Mahler's only recordings: 1905 Welte-Mignon discs of hispianism (collected on Golden Legacy CD 101) which exhibit the same sort of highlyindividual, impetuous approach.
The program was difficult: Schumann's , Rosza's new , Strauss's and Wagner's . According to Philharmonic violinist Jacques Margolis, it was intended thatBernstein simply follow the orchestra, which had already played the same program severaltimes under Walter. But then, as Margolis recalled: "It didn't work out that way. Youjust couldn't believe a young man could create that kind of music. Here were players intheir fifties and sixties with long experience. And here this little snot-nose comes inand creates a more exciting performance. We were supposed to have gone over it with BrunoWalter, we had rehearsed it with him and performed it with him, and this had nothing to dowith Bruno Walter. The orchestra stood up and cheered. We were open-mouthed. That man wasthe most extraordinary musician I have ever met in my life."
Indeed, films of Bernstein conducting at the time show him to have been mostly wild anduninhibited on the podium. Interestingly, for Mozart and Beethoven he lapsed into achaste, traditional function of time-beating with expressive accents, much as otherconductors did for all music. For overtly emotional music, though, Bernstein flung himselfat the orchestra, making desperate, clutching gestures with his bare hands (à la JoeCocker), as if trying to wrest music out of the very air before him. Only after 1957, inorder to compensate for back problems, did Bernstein resort to using a baton. Even then,his face continued to reflect a full gamut of extreme emotion, from excruciating pain tooverwhelming bliss. No musician could possibly play routinely when the leader was soovertly involved and enthused.
And so it was that the musical world was surprised to learn at a press conference onNovember 20, 1957 that Leonard Bernstein had been named music director of the New YorkPhilharmonic. Perhaps the most convincing explanation is offered by Meryle Secrest, whocontends that Arthur Judson, impresario and manager of the Philharmonic since 1922, hadall but ruined the orchestra by hiring only personnel, soloists and conductors whom herepresented, a classic conflict of interest that had deprived the orchestra of theexcellence and variety it required for genuine stature. When Judson was finally ousted inSeptember 1956, the board knew that a clear break with past practice was needed to restorepublic confidence. Bernstein's youth, modern repertoire, charisma and audience appeal madehim a logical choice and he was selected over Guido Cantelli, a protege of Toscanini whoboasted all the traditional European virtues.
In the public mind, it is the conductor who personifies the power of classical music,holding a hundred musicians under perfect control and unleashing the force of the fullorchestra with a mere gesture. Despite his spectacular success as a soloist, teacher andcomposer, it is as a conductor that Bernstein will be best remembered.
Mitropoulos returned to his permanent post in Minneapolis but wired Bernstein $200 toenable him to spend the next winter vacation with him. Sam Bernstein later recalled thisas the turning point of his son's life. Upon returning to Harvard, Leonard declared thathe would make music his life.
Bernstein was devastated by Gershwin's sudden and untimely death in 1937. Upon hearingthe news on a radio at summer camp, Bernstein interrupted an informal lunchtime recital todemand silence while he played a Gershwin prelude. He later recalled that at that momenthe identified so fully with Gershwin that he felt that he had actually become thecomposer. Thus, through his death Gershwin passed a torch to Bernstein: the essentialinstinct of a great musician to crawl inside a work and recreate it through the act of hisown performance. As Ned Rorem recalled, Bernstein "not only championed my music butconducted it in a manner coinciding with my very heartbeat."
Music and television are more than just relaxing activities to spend extra time but can affect the psychological and developmental process of young adults.
Copland criticized and molded Bernstein's own writing, provided an entree to the topechelon of American composers, guided him toward conducting and launched his graduatetraining with an introduction to Fritz Reiner at the Curtis Institute; the rest, as theysay, is history. Once his career took off, Bernstein reciprocated by becoming a tirelessadvocate of modern American music (including Copland's), boosting its popularity throughperformances of stunning vitality. But for now, the attention lavished by a musician ofCopland's stature was the first tangible indication that the aspiring student would indeedscale the heights.
Plato, a well-known classical Greek philosopher once said, “If you want to measure the spiritual depth of society, make sure to mark its music.” Generally performer collaborate songs to represent the popular pop culture, and social issues, and wish for their society as well as their current era....
Music is an abstract art that defies complete explanations, but learning to communicate with the appropriate terminology allows you to more accurately express your opinions on music....
After receiving a strict, classical education at the prestigious 300-year old BostonLatin School, Bernstein attended Harvard. His pianism excelled and he became known as aprodigiously talented sight-reader. Bored with the highly theoretical music courses, heinstead studied language and philosophy, while immersing himself in a wide variety ofextracurricular musical experiences: playing silent film accompaniment, writing scathingcriticism, and even staging Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Bernstein's first year and ahalf at Harvard was uneventful, and he appeared headed for a career as a concert pianist,if only he would settle down. But then 1937 brought a dizzying succession of threeinfluences that would shape Bernstein's personality and career.
The Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood was a new and wholly American concept: aconvergence of over 300 of the most talented student and professional composers,performers and writers to interact and learn from each other over the course of a summer– an artistic democracy. The apex of the program was a master class in conducting classto be led by Koussevitzky himself. Bernstein was one of only five students accepted. Heinstantly fell under Koussevitzky's spell.