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The Bernstein Songbook

Leonard Bernstein

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Album Review

This is a compilation of Leonard Bernstein's music for the theater drawn from a variety of sources, mostly cast albums. To wit, there are two songs from the 1950 original Broadway cast recording of Peter Pan; three songs from the 1956 original Broadway cast recording of Candide; four songs from the 1957 original Broadway cast recording of West Side Story; three songs from a 1958 television soundtrack of the 1953 musical Wonderful Town, featuring Rosalind Russell from the original Broadway cast; four songs from a 1960 studio cast recording of the 1944 musical On the Town, featuring Cris Alexander, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green from the original Broadway cast; one song from the 1973 original cast recording of Mass; two songs from a 1973 studio cast recording of the 1952 opera Trouble in Tahiti; and a 1977 live recording by Frederica von Stade of "Take Care of This House" from the 1976 musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (for which no original cast recording was ever made). Some of Bernstein's best-known songs are featured, including "New York, New York," "Ohio," "Glitter and Be Gay," "Maria," "Tonight," and "Somewhere," and the material, brought together, has a remarkable consistency. Bernstein's mixture of classical, theater, and popular influences is exhilarating, sounding like no other classical, theater, or popular music, and it is thrillingly performed here by many of the performers who introduced these songs on-stage.


Born: August 25, 1918 in Lawrence, MA

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

No figure in 20th century American classical music had as prominent or controversial a career — or did more to sell classical music to the general public as something genuinely exciting, and worth getting into a sweat over — than Leonard Bernstein. For more than 30 years, from his assumption of the post of Music Director of the New York Philharmonic in 1958 until the final concerts that he conducted in obviously failing health near the end of his life in 1990, he was the most prominent...
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