BERNSTEIN, LEONARD An American in Paris. Recordings & Concerts with Orchestre National de France. Orchestre National de France / Bernstein. Warner Classics 7cds
Leonard Bernstein – An American in Paris
Recordings & Concerts with Orchestre National de France
Orchestre National de France / Leonard Bernstein
This 7CD set is the fruit of the love affair that developed in Paris between
Leonard Bernstein and the Orchestre National de France in the 1970s. Beside
long-admired studio recordings, featuring Mstislav Rostropovich and Alexis Weissenberg
among the soloists, it presents live performances completely new to the catalogue:
a 1975 programme to celebrate Ravel’s centenary – with Bernstein
himself as soloist in the G major piano concerto – and orchestral suites
taken from two of Bernstein’s most celebrated and brilliant works, both
infused with jazz: the film score On the Waterfront and the landmark Broadway
musical West Side Story.
25th August 2018 marks the centenary of the birth of American conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990). He was one of the most celebrated and charismatic musicians of his time, an artist who transcended conventional boundaries between genres. Warner Classics owns the treasurable and substantial catalogue of recordings made in Paris in the latter part of the 1970s during Bernstein’s ‘love affair’ with the Orchestre National de France (ONF). A key selling point of this box is that it complements these well-known studio recordings with previously unreleased live recordings (radio broadcasts) that Bernstein made with the ONF in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Among these are two famous works by Bernstein himself, including Symphonic Dances of West Side Story. The project will be highly supported by The Bernstein Office, running the Leonard Bernstein at 100 website (https://leonardbernstein.com/ in which you can find events related to the Bernstein year all over the world) and socials (400k likes on Facebook, 6k followers on Twitter, etc.)
Leonard Bernstein, born near Boston in 1918, was one of the most prominent musicians of the mid-to-late 20th century. The Los Angeles Times recently described Bernstein as “the most celebrated, most multitalented and most American musician of his time”.
-As a composer, Bernstein is best known for the landmark Broadway musical West Side Story, which is represented in this set. In addition to other musicals and the score for the 1954 film On the Waterfront (also represented here) he wrote a substantial and artistically ambitious body of compositions for the concert hall, two operas and two ballet scores.
As a conductor, Bernstein had a 47-year relationship with the New York Philharmonic. He also enjoyed close links with the Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, and of course the Orchestre National de France where he remains, 40 years after their collaboration, a musical and human hero
Bernstein was the first conductor to give a series of television lectures on classical music, starting in 1954 and continuing until his death.
Leonard Bernstein died in October 1990. On Christmas Day 1989 he had conducted Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in the former East Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. This ‘Ode to Freedom‘ was described by Die Welt’s writer Klaus Geitel as marking “the absolute climax in the public life of the world citizen Leonard Bernstein”.
Two works by Bernstein himself feature in the box:
The Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
The symphonic suite drawn from his jazz-influenced film score On the Waterfront
Live recordings that are receiving their world premiere release with this box. Both works were recorded at a concert in Paris in 1979.
A significant emphasis on French music:
Berlioz (including the Symphonie fantastique)
Ravel (all but Shéhérazade are previously unreleased live recordings from concerts given at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in 1975 to mark Ravel’s centenary). Bernstein himself is soloist in Ravel’s G major piano concerto
Milhaud (including La Création du monde and Le Bœuf sur le toit, both works with a strong element of jazz)
Legendary Concertos albums with Rostropovich (Schumann-Bloch), and Weissenberg (Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 3)
The set also includes 3 rehearsal sequences (of music by Ravel) which showcase Bernstein’s passion as a musician and demonstrate the close relationship between him and the Orchestre National de France
Warner Classics 7cds 0190295689544
|Format||Box Sets, CD|
|Release Period||August 2018|