August 2018 is the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. Many classical radio stations, performance groups, and writers marked the occasion. And so did #ClassicsaDay.
Bernstein was known as a composer, conductor, performer and an educator. Since #ClassicsaDay is primarily a music feed, I concentrated on the first two of those roles (and occasionally the third).
My contributions alternated between Bernstein the composer and Bernstein the conductor. And I tried to steer away from the more obvious choices for Bernstein compositions. His catalog is quite extensive, and I found it interesting to explore some of the lesser-known (and in some cases, less-successful) works.
Here are my posts for the first week:
Leonard Berstein – Facsimile – Choreographic Essay for Orchestra
Berstein finished Facsimile in 1944 and recorded it for RCA three years later. He would reuse some of its material in “On the Town” and “West Side Story”
Gustav Mahler – Symphony No. 5
Leonard Bernstein did two complete recording cycles of Mahler symphonies. They brought Mahler’s symphonies from the fringe into the core repertoire. Bernstein felt the strongest connection with the 5th symphony. He was buried with a copy of the score.
Leonard Bernstein – Psalm 148, for Voice and Piano (1935)
Berstein completed this work the same year he entered Harvard. He studied composition there with Walter Piston and Edward Burlingame Hill, two composers with distinctly American styles.