Product Description & Reviews
Throughout the 1970s, conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein was invited to lead the greatest orchestras of the world in a number of concerts that since such time have become legendary. Now, these historic performances are available on DVD for the first time. Leonard Bernstein was the entry into classical music for legions of fans who experienced his multiple personalities as conductor, composer, teacher, and pianist. He became a veritable father figure not only to his considerable progeny of students but also to a whole generation that learned the joy of music from his influential televised Young People's Concerts. Bernstein remains probably the most effectively telegenic personality classical music has yet produced. The nine DVDs in The Concert Collection offer a fascinating time capsule of the later glory years, reminding us of the unique charisma that was Bernstein on the podium. At each location in this peripatetic collection, the moments before the maestro actually lifts his baton unfold as a powerful ritual. Just a glance at the reactions from audience and players gives you a sense of the hypnotic pull Bernstein commanded. His famously physical manner on the podium reveals a psychokinetic connection to the music. Every concert ends in a torrent of sweat. Sometimes gracefully balletic, at others outrageously exaggerated, Lenny's movements tempt you to air-conduct along with him. (Many who met Bernstein in person were startled to discover a relatively short man, so imposing is the presence he projects from the podium.)The repertory here concentrates on the romantic, along with a few examples of 20th-century music (including Bernstein's own). Those familiar only wit his later Mahler cycles will find some intriguing seeds for the hyperromantic approach he would come to embrace. One of the unquestionable highlights involves Bernstein's efforts (covering two discs) during the 1970 Beethoven anniversary year. His famous Beethoven documentary--which includes a moving summation of what Beethoven means to him--gives us the best of Bernstein as teacher and communicator. And rehearsal scenes for his Viennese production of Fidelio are invaluable. The Ninth Symphony is of course a grand affair (it makes an interesting contrast with the later, highly publicized Ninth performed to mark the fall of the Berlin Wall), but don't overlook the thrills and beauty of Bernstein in the first Beethoven piano concerto, performing as conductor and pianist (he does likewise for Ravel's Concerto in G).Bernstein also shows tremendous affinity for Berlioz, leading a no-holds-barred performance of the Requiem in Paris's St. Louis des Invalides. Here--as in many other moments--you realize how Bernstein's greatness as a conductor arises from an uncanny ability to identify with a composer, to endow the act of music-making with the rare conviction of being present at its creation. A number of the programs were directed by Humphrey Burton (a later biographer of the conductor). Inevitably, much of the camera work has a dated feel, especially compared with the most sophisticated jump cuts and angles of contemporary technology. Yet it still conveys that powerful empathy that is at the core of Bernstein's musical communication.Perhaps the most dated element here, ironically, is the sometimes awkward 1973 production, in association with London Weekend Television, of Bernstein's one-act operatic satire from 1951, Trouble in Tahiti. Its cartoonish sets reveal a '70s take on a retro-'50s look of soulless conformity. But there's a lot of terrific music here, and the opera itself is ripe for rediscovery--as are the Bernstein symphonies also included in the set, music that has remained underrated in part because many conductors of today are reluctant to vie with Lenny's own seemingly unsurpassable interpretations.Unfortunately, the set comes with neither subtitles nor printed texts for the Requiems and Trouble in Tahiti, and audiophiles will need to make accommodations for the boxy television sound of a bygone era. But these are minor failings in a set that offers extraordinary perspectives on a great conductor at work in the act of interpreting music. Bernstein himself said it best when he summed up the act of conducting as "the closest thing I know to love itself." --Thomas May More from Bernstein Young People's Concerts The Unanswered Question Mahler Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies (Collector's Edition) Mahler: The Complete Symphonies & Orchestral Songs The Making of West Side Story
Features & Highlights
|Item Weight:||1.12 pounds|
|Item Size:||5.5 x 1.6 x 1.6 inches|
|Package Weight:||0.95 pounds|
|Package Size:||5.5 x 1.7 x 1.7 inches|
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