Author Topic: Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990  (Read 48630 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990
« Reply #300 on: January 16, 2020, 07:36:04 AM »
Yes, I listened as soon as I saw it on Spotify, which was a while back.  But I heard it again recently and thought it was very good.  Of course I am a fan of both Zimerman and Bernstein, so it was an easy sell  ;) .

It’s an outstanding performance for sure. Zimerman does look like he’s having fun:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/yjyOL9AiDR0" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/yjyOL9AiDR0</a>
"The best music always results from ecstasies of logic.” - Alban Berg

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990
« Reply #301 on: January 16, 2020, 11:29:26 AM »
Jeffrey, you should definitely listen to the non-symphonic works of Bernstein. Give Chichester Psalms another chance. Songfest is also worth your time.
Will do my friend. Thanks.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990
« Reply #302 on: January 16, 2020, 07:22:57 PM »
Will do my friend. Thanks.

Some other works worth checking out are Concerto for Orchestra, “Jubilee Games”, Halil, the Clarinet Sonata, all of the Anniversary works for solo piano, Divertimento, Dybbuk, On the Town, Wonderful Town, Trouble in Tahiti, and Missa Brevis.
"The best music always results from ecstasies of logic.” - Alban Berg

Online Roasted Swan

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Re: Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990
« Reply #303 on: January 17, 2020, 04:49:25 AM »
Some other works worth checking out are Concerto for Orchestra, “Jubilee Games”, Halil, the Clarinet Sonata, all of the Anniversary works for solo piano, Divertimento, Dybbuk, On the Town, Wonderful Town, Trouble in Tahiti, and Missa Brevis.

One of the rarities/extras included in the Alsop survey was the orchestrations of the Anniversaries - quite quirky but I enjoyed them in orchestral garb.....


Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990
« Reply #304 on: January 17, 2020, 06:56:26 AM »
One of the rarities/extras included in the Alsop survey was the orchestrations of the Anniversaries - quite quirky but I enjoyed them in orchestral garb.....



I haven’t heard them yet (I haven’t got around to Alsop’s Bernstein box yet), but I bet they do sound pretty neat.
"The best music always results from ecstasies of logic.” - Alban Berg

Online Roasted Swan

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Re: Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990
« Reply #305 on: January 17, 2020, 08:42:45 AM »
Prompted by this thread I've been revisiting Mass.  I'm not sure any other piece of Bernstein gets such a bad press being by turns deemed crass or shallow (or faux-profound!), musically thin and a mess etc etc.  But I have always really enjoyed it.  Sometimes that pleasure has waxed or waned and having not listened to it in ages I returned to it today.  I listened quite carefully to the version on Chandos;



and it is really very good.  I prefer it to Alsop because I can't stand her celebrant and also - as recorded - the Baltimore SO just lacks a little bit of bite.  The Chandos SACD really helps with the many spatial effects of the work.  Just a couple of times the non-American performers get their pronunciation a bit odd... Of course with so many sections and soloists it will always be a bit of nip and tuck preferring this soloist here or that one from a different performance.  The Nezet-Seguin version on DG is a technical disaster - the engineers have made such a mess of the actual sound to render it all but a waste of time.

As to the music itself; the further we move away from the 1970's the less I think it matters that Bernstein was pastisching popular musical styles.  The writing itself is very sophisticated and I love the sharp juxtaposition of the complex and the banal - for me it makes an interesting musical/aesthetic contrast.  Yes bits of the text do have a distinct "squirm-value" but that could be said of most libretti for any work.  Anyway, certainly a major Bernstein score and one that might survive the years better than others - probably to the surprise and annoyance of its detractors!

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Re: Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990
« Reply #306 on: January 17, 2020, 09:30:00 AM »
Prompted by this thread I've been revisiting Mass.  I'm not sure any other piece of Bernstein gets such a bad press being by turns deemed crass or shallow (or faux-profound!), musically thin and a mess etc etc.  But I have always really enjoyed it.  Sometimes that pleasure has waxed or waned and having not listened to it in ages I returned to it today.  I listened quite carefully to the version on Chandos;



and it is really very good.  I prefer it to Alsop because I can't stand her celebrant and also - as recorded - the Baltimore SO just lacks a little bit of bite.  The Chandos SACD really helps with the many spatial effects of the work.  Just a couple of times the non-American performers get their pronunciation a bit odd... Of course with so many sections and soloists it will always be a bit of nip and tuck preferring this soloist here or that one from a different performance.  The Nezet-Seguin version on DG is a technical disaster - the engineers have made such a mess of the actual sound to render it all but a waste of time.

As to the music itself; the further we move away from the 1970's the less I think it matters that Bernstein was pastisching popular musical styles.  The writing itself is very sophisticated and I love the sharp juxtaposition of the complex and the banal - for me it makes an interesting musical/aesthetic contrast.  Yes bits of the text do have a distinct "squirm-value" but that could be said of most libretti for any work.  Anyway, certainly a major Bernstein score and one that might survive the years better than others - probably to the surprise and annoyance of its detractors!

Nice post.  Contrary to you, I really like Jublilant Sykes and consider Marin Alsop's recording the best modern recording I've heard (I still like the original).  I remember listening to the Chandos recording when it first came out and liking it a lot, too.  I should listen to it again. 

I have been a champion of Mass since it was first recorded, I remember buying the LP box and really thinking it was a great work - and haven't changed my opinion all these years later. 

Online Roasted Swan

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Re: Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990
« Reply #307 on: January 17, 2020, 12:39:40 PM »
I have been a champion of Mass since it was first recorded, I remember buying the LP box and really thinking it was a great work - and haven't changed my opinion all these years later.

My feeling exactly about the original release.  Not sure anyone has ever done the Celebrant better than Alan Titus.  I listened to those LP's so often I kind of hardwired for his performance!

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990
« Reply #308 on: January 17, 2020, 07:48:35 PM »
Prompted by this thread I've been revisiting Mass.  I'm not sure any other piece of Bernstein gets such a bad press being by turns deemed crass or shallow (or faux-profound!), musically thin and a mess etc etc.  But I have always really enjoyed it.  Sometimes that pleasure has waxed or waned and having not listened to it in ages I returned to it today.  I listened quite carefully to the version on Chandos;



and it is really very good.  I prefer it to Alsop because I can't stand her celebrant and also - as recorded - the Baltimore SO just lacks a little bit of bite.  The Chandos SACD really helps with the many spatial effects of the work.  Just a couple of times the non-American performers get their pronunciation a bit odd... Of course with so many sections and soloists it will always be a bit of nip and tuck preferring this soloist here or that one from a different performance.  The Nezet-Seguin version on DG is a technical disaster - the engineers have made such a mess of the actual sound to render it all but a waste of time.

As to the music itself; the further we move away from the 1970's the less I think it matters that Bernstein was pastisching popular musical styles.  The writing itself is very sophisticated and I love the sharp juxtaposition of the complex and the banal - for me it makes an interesting musical/aesthetic contrast.  Yes bits of the text do have a distinct "squirm-value" but that could be said of most libretti for any work.  Anyway, certainly a major Bernstein score and one that might survive the years better than others - probably to the surprise and annoyance of its detractors!

I’ve slowly been warming up to the Mass and, on paper, it looks like a chaotic, jumbled incoherent musical marsh, but it actually holds together rather well. One of the positives of it is I do believe that Bernstein wrote his heart into the music and he envisioned a kind of universal music where there are no boundaries. I’m planning on revisiting this work over the weekend (hopefully). That Kristjan Järvi recording looks good. I might have to get it. I can’t comment on the Alsop recording as I’ve only heard it once but don’t remember much about it. San Antone is usually right in line with my own tastes with his appraisal of Bernstein performances, so chances are I’ll enjoy Alsop’s performance very much.
"The best music always results from ecstasies of logic.” - Alban Berg

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Re: Leonard Bernstein 1918-1990
« Reply #309 on: Today at 04:45:33 AM »
The Absolute Ensemble is a first rate group.  I originally heard them on a recording of a live performance of orchestrated Joe Zawinal music.  I thought it was pretty impressive to have transcribed his keyboard parts exactly and played them perfectly and with a lot of swing.  Kristjan Järvi founded and leads the group.