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 second week:
Franz Schubert – Symphony No. 8 in B minor, D.759 “Unfinished”
Bernstein recorded Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony twice. The first was in 1963 with the New York Philharmonic, the second in 1987 with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Leonard Bernstein – I Hate Music: A Cycle of Five Kid Songs for Soprano and Piano
Bernstein wrote this cycle in 1943, inspired by — and dedicated to — his then apartment mate Edys Merrill. When his music-making in their close quarters became excessive, she would shout “I hate music!”
George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue
Bernstein was an accomplished pianist. In a 1976 performance at the Royal Albert Hall, he conducted Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” from the keyboard.
Leonard Bernstein – Olympic Hymn, for Mixed Chorus and Orchestra
Bernstein was commissioned to write an Olympic Hymn for the 1981 Olympics in Baden-Baden.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64
Bernstein conducted all six of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies with the New York Philharmonic. He recorded Symphony No. 5 twice with them – for Columbia in 1960 and for Deutsche Grammophon in 1988.