Happy Birthday, Lenny!

Introducing Bernstein, the Composer

Best known as the composer of West Side Story, the all-round musical genius had a spectacular conducting style and a contagious enthusiasm for communicating his art.

It's very hard – or in fact it's impossible – to sum up Leonard Bernstein in just one word. Composer, conductor, educator he was quite simply one of the twentieth century's greatest figures in classical music. So his centenary year was always going to be a big deal, and a joyous excuse to remind ourselves of everything that he did for classical music.

However the fact that this centenary year falls now, rather than, say, ten years ago, is an especially joyous thing, because it's happening after the music streaming revolution, meaning that Bernstein's massive back catalogue of recordings is available to each and every one of us; and indeed what we're really hoping of Grammofy's homage to Bernstein is that it'll inspire and equip you to explore his recorded legacy further by yourselves.

So what have we got for you? Well, two collections: one focussed on his conducting, and this first one focussed on his compositions; and the five works we've got for you here are the Overture to his operetta Candide, his Symphony No 2 subtitled “The Age of Anxiety”, the Chichester Psalms, the Serenade after Plato's “Symposium”, and finally the cello and piano arrangement of his Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. You'll notice that his two major musicals, West Side Story and On the Town, aren't in that list, and the reason is that we know you can find those on your own; so it's far more interesting to present you with concert music you may not otherwise have gravitated towards.

Curation: Charlotte Gardner

Speaker: Charlotte Gardner

Visual Art: Philipp Nicolai Hertel

  • Happy Birthday, Lenny!

  • An introduction to Bernstein — Candide - Act I: Overture

  • Candide - Act I: Overture Preview Only

    Leonard Bernstein

    New York Philharmonic Orchestra1960
  • An introduction to Bernstein — Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra »The Age of Anxiety«

  • Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra »The Age of Anxiety« Preview Only

    Leonard Bernstein

    New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, Philippe Entremont1966
  • An introduction to Bernstein — Chichester Psalms

  • Chichester Psalms Preview Only

    Leonard Bernstein

    Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Camerata Singers, Abraham Kaplan, John Bogart
  • An introduction to Bernstein — Serenade after Plato's "Symposium"

  • Serenade after Plato's "Symposium" Preview Only

    Leonard Bernstein

    New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, Zino Francescatti1966
  • An introduction to Bernstein, Ma — Clarinet Sonata (Transcribed for Cello & Piano)

  • Clarinet Sonata (Transcribed for Cello & Piano) Preview Only

    Leonard Bernstein (arr. Yo-Yo Ma)

    Yo-Yo Ma, Jeffrey Kahane

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