Leonard Bernstein: Brahms - Symphonies Nos. 2 & 4
1 May 2008
Composer: Johannes Brahms
Other participants: Leonard Bernstein, Boston Symphony Orchestra
Boston Symphony Orchestra
EuroArts continues their series of outstanding releases of Leonard Bernstein’s (1918-1990) recorded legacy. Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood – the exceptional musical personality and his favourite festival. Bernstein began his career as a conductor in Tanglewood in 1940. He was studying under Sergei Koussevitzky and it filled him with pride to conduct two Brahms symphonies at the festival as he recalls his teacher conducting the same two symphonies there. The DVD shows Bernstein with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Festival in 1972. His readings of Johannes Brahms’ (1833 – 1897) Second and Fourth Symphonies display all the passion and musical commitment for which he was so famous. “Lenny”, as he was often affectionately called and Sergei Koussevitzky met when Bernstein was studying conducting at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, founded and led by Koussevitzky, the music director of Bernstein’s hometown orchestra, the Boston Symphony. From then on Bernstein was a regular visitor at the festival, soon conducting in the main programme and – after Koussevitzky’s death in 1951 – leading memorial concerts in honour of his teacher. The two performances on this disc were recorded before casually clothed audiences at afternoon and early evening performances in August 1972. There is, however, nothing casual about Bernstein’s conducting – full of energy and fire, they remind us of the artist that Koussevitzky had seen in the student who appeared before him in 1940 - a young man with a great future, a student, who was to become one of the leading musical personalities of the 20th century. A bonus film shows Leonard Bernstein talking about his relationship to Tanglewood. He tells of his early career there and of the festival’s very special culture. The video not only features an aerial view of the lovely surroundings, the concert hall and atmospheric shots of audiences relaxing in the grounds, but also shows Bernstein in conversation with his students in the summer of 1972, when the material for this wonderful portrait of Leonard Bernstein was recorded.
Bernstein at Tanglewood