“Leonard Bernstein was a thinker, teacher, author, television star, provocateur, humanitarian, and he was my hero. As with all true mentors, Bernstein taught me much more than a craft. He showed me – and the world – the enormous power of music and how important it is to share it with as much of humanity as is possible. He showed us that classical music is a powerful force that can transform lives as well as inspire and move people, and he lived by those principles.”
Leonard Bernstein’s legendary 1943 Carnegie Hall conducting début brought his name to national attention, and the event was followed a few months later by the triumphant reception of his Symphony No. 1 ‘Jeremiah.’ This major symphonic statement explores a crisis in faith and employs Jewish liturgical sources, its final movement, Lamentation, being an anguished cry at the destruction of Jerusalem. Sharing the theme of loss of faith, Symphony No. 2 ‘The Age of Anxiety’ takes W.H. Auden’s poem of the same name and follows its four characters in their spiritual journey to hard-won triumph. Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3 ‘Kaddish’ can be heard on Naxos 8.559742.
Listen to an extract from
Symphony No. 1 ‘Jeremiah’:
Listen to an extract from
Symphony No. 2 ‘The Age of Anxiety’:
Part I: The Seven Ages: Variation 2: Poco più mosso -
About the Artists
Marin Alsop was appointed the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 2007, becoming the first woman to head a major American orchestra. In 2013, her tenure was extended to the 2020-2021 season. She took up the post of principal conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in 2012, and became music director the following year. She also holds the title of conductor emeritus at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom. In 2005, Marin Alsop was the first conductor to be awarded a MacArthur Genius award; and in 2013 she became the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms in London.
Jean-Yves Thibaudet has performed around the world for more than 30 years and recorded more than 50 albums, with a depth and natural charisma that have made him one of today’s most sought-after soloists. He has been nominated for two GRAMMY® Awards and won the Schallplattenpreis, the Diapason d’Or, the Choc du Monde de la Musique, a Gramophone Award, two Echo awards, and the Edison Prize. In 2010 the Hollywood Bowl honored Thibaudet for his musical achievements by inducting him into its Hall of Fame.
Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano is noted for her profound artistry, commanding stage presence and engaging personality. She is a 2012 Richard Tucker Career Grant and 2014 George London Award winner. She won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2008, and made her Met début during the 2009-10 season. As first-prize winner of the 2009 Young Concert Artist International Auditions, she has given début performances with pianist Christopher Cano at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Kennedy Center and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is recognised as one of the world’s preeminent orchestras. The BSO made musical history in September 2007, when Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the orchestra’s twelfth music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. With her highly praised artistic vision, her dynamic musicianship and her commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop has ushered in a new era for the BSO and its audiences.
Other recordings of Bernstein's music, conducted by Marin Alsop
BERNSTEIN, L.: Mass Sykes • Wulfman • Morgan State University Choir • Peabody Children’s Choir
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra • Alsop
“Alsop is at the root of everything, of course, and her Baltimore players surge ever forward”
“Alsop’s tight-knit, symphonic pacing delineates the structure of the work without diluting its exuberant eclecticism or softening its hard road towards spiritual awakening.”
– BBC Music Magazine
Listen to an extract from Gospel-Sermon: "God Said"
“Under [Alsop’s] baton, the Baltimore Symphony realizes Bernstein’s extraordinary orchestral effects in ways that will both scarify you and tug at your heartstrings … a fantastic performance and a spectacular recording.”
“This disc is superb. Claire Bloom’s narration is beautifully assimilated into the sound picture. The orchestral playing is razor-sharp, the chorus outstanding.”
– The Arts Desk
Listen to an extract from Symphony No. 3, "Kaddish":
“Sensitive, exciting, and impressively lucid performances of three Bernstein works”
– The New York Times
“The results are generally successful, with the orchestra and chorus nimble and incisive in the first psalm and the forceful interruption to the second, and expressive without being sentimental in the lovely winding lines of the last.”
– BBC Music Magazine
Listen to an extract from On the Town - Three Dance Episodes:
I. The Great Lover