Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search

This month, acclaimed conductor Marin Alsop’s much-anticipated new recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass is being released on Naxos.

Marin Alsop describes the work as ‘one of the great American 20th century masterpieces, in my opinion. This is a work that broke ground on every level. It is a multi disciplinary theater work that crosses stylistic, political and social boundaries in novel and inspiring ways. Mass challenges us to think about faith, humanity, war and responsibility...what could be more relevant today?’

Jubilant Sykes, baritone • Asher Edward Wulfman, boy soprano
Peabody Children's Chorus • Morgan State University Choir
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra • Marin Alsop, conductor


When Leonard Bernstein was asked by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to compose the inaugural work for the opening of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., he wrote: “The Mass is also an extremely dramatic event in itself—it even suggests a theater work.” Premiered on September 8, 1971, with additional words by Stephen Schwartz of Godspell fame, Mass is a remarkable, visionary work with a kaleidoscope of musical styles that touches on themes of political protest, existential crisis and religious faith lost and found.

Marin Alsop has also recorded other works by Bernstein for Naxos:

BERNSTEIN Chichester Psalms, On the Waterfront
Thomas Kelly, treble • Elizabeth Franklin-Kitchen, soprano
Victoria Nayler, alto • Jeremy Budd, tenor • Paul Charrier, bass
Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra • Marin Alsop, conductor


‘Herself a protegie of Leonard Bernstein, the Bournemouth's American Chief conductor Marin Alsop is the perfect champion for these powerful, charismatic pieces... Bernstein in all his versatile, many splendoured glory.’ (The Observer)
BERNSTEIN Serenade, Facsimile, Divertimento
Philippe Quint, violin • Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, conductor


Conductor, composer, educator, pianist: Leonard Bernstein was, without question, the greatest musician America has ever produced. Bernstein described his Serenade, inspired by Plato’s Symposium, as a ‘series of related statements in praise of love’ and considered it his ‘most satisfying’ work. Of particular note is the slow lyrical melody in the first movement, Phaedrus, soon to be immortalised in Maria from West Side Story (Naxos 8.559126). Facsimile, a work by turns acerbic and tender, depicts post-war malaise and the spiritual vacuum of modern man. In the Divertimento for Orchestra, composed for the Boston Symphony on their centenary, Bernstein enjoys himself with many musical puns and breezy humour.

Other great Bernstein recordings on Naxos include:

BERNSTEIN West Side Story – the original score
Marianne Cooke • Robert Dean • Mike Eldred • Betsi Morrison
Michael San Giovanni • Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Kenneth Schermerhorn


‘As Bernstein's assistant during the composition of West Side Story, Kenneth Schermerhorn brings an impressive history to his new recording of the complete score. His Nashville Symphony plays with considerable skill and sensitivity in a recording conceived to provide as much theatrical atmosphere as a concert performance can, spoken dialogue introducing set pieces...and big numbers such as "America" containing quite a lot of commotion. Among the soloists, Mike Eldred's Tony offers the most persuasive singing - "Something's Coming" and "Maria" are especially moving. But the others acquit themselves well, too...The new Naxos is certainly more than good enough, and the sound is superb.’ (The Absolute Sound)
BERNSTEIN Symphony No 1, Concerto for Orchestra
Helen Medlyn, mezzo-soprano • Nathan Gunn, baritone
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra • James Judd


‘These performances not only match Bernstein's in idiomatic flair, rhythmic zest, and sheer spunk, they often surpass them, and believe me I spent a lot of time comparing recordings before going out on this particular limb.’ (10/10 -

‘One must applaud Judd's audacity in taking the work on, and he's more than merely serviceable, sometimes trumping the composer's own wilder performance’ (Gramophone)

Leonard Bernstein (composer) Biography & Discography

Leonard Bernstein (performer) Biography & Discography

View our special weekly features:
View all Features »


Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group