Listened to On The Waterfront just awhile ago (w/ Mata/Dallas Symphony on Dorian) and I had forgotten just how awesome this piece work was. Man, I'm loving this.
I'm no stranger to Bernstein's music, of course, but it's quite refreshing to go back and hear something you haven't heard in awhile and be overwhelmed by its exuberance and power.
Agree that On the Waterfront is an awesome work. It's so disappointing to think he never wrote any more film music. I'm a longtime fan of Bernstein the conductor and composer. His first recording of the Copland Sym 3 is a masterful achievement, imho.
Pretty much agree with some of you about his own symphonies: Jeremiah is the best, with Age of Anxiety a close second (for me). Prelude, Fugue & Riffs is great, also the serenade and clarinet sonata. His piano Anniversaries are quite nice as well. I never heard the entire Mass, only the interludes which are excellent. To me, West Side Story is the great masterpiece of Bernstein. Candide has inspiration on nearly the same level, but as a dramatic work it falters. That famous highlights LP on Sony is a good way to go. However, the complete recording issued on New World is very good:
The complete recording he made for DG is to be avoided, although it's worth hearing once for the odd tempo (and singer!) choices.