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Audio Video Club of Atlanta, March 2019

There’s a lot of vibrant music here, including several world recording premieres, all in a CD that clocks in at just 53:46. With the exception of the Mambo from West Side Story and the Times Square Ballet from On the Town, most of the music heard on this program will be unfamiliar, even to longtime Bernstein fans. In this instance, the lack of familiarity adds to our pleasure. As a student of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), conductor Marin Alsop has been actively concerned with various tributes as part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration for the composer, and the performances you hear on this CD carry an aura of authenticity. © 2019 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

James H North
Fanfare, January 2019

BERNSTEIN, L.: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite / Slava! / CBS Music / A Bernstein Birthday Bouquet (São Paulo Symphony, Alsop) 8.559813
BERNSTEIN, L.: Anniversaries / Fancy Free Suite / Candide Overture / Wonderful Town Overture (São Paulo Symphony, Alsop) 8.559814

Alsop and her São Paulo forces seem ideal.

Charlie Harmon’s symphonic arrangement of the Overture to Wonderful Town is smooth as silk, ready for its Hollywood close-up.

Each of these discs is a keeper, one for Kirchner, one for Bernstein. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review

Financial Times, December 2018

Marin Alsop and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra mix dazzling early showpieces with minor ‘bonnes bouches’. © 2018 Financial Times

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, December 2018

No conductor does Leonard Bernstein better today than Marin Alsop and these performances by the excellent São Paulo Symphony demonstrate well her belief in every measure of the composer’s music. It is fitting for the CD insert to have a photo on the cover of a much younger Alsop with her mentor, Bernstein. Much of the music on the disc, though, is rather negligible, the exception being the tribute paid to Bernstein under the title “A Bernstein Birthday Bouquet” by eight composers who had a personal or professional connection to him.

For those aficionados who did not invest in the full Alsop set or already have her other recordings of the composer’s major works, this will make a good addendum in the celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s centenary. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Steven A Kennedy
Film Score Monthly, December 2018

This release, one of two that dropped this fall, was done with the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra and features some peripheral works from Bernstein’s catalog, including some world premieres. There are a host of treasures to be found in this intelligently chosen program. © 2018 Film Score Monthly Read complete review

David Gutman
Gramophone, December 2018

BERNSTEIN, L.: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Suite / Slava! / CBS Music / A Bernstein Birthday Bouquet (São Paulo Symphony, Alsop) 8.559813
BERNSTEIN, L.: Anniversaries / Fancy Free Suite / Candide Overture / Wonderful Town Overture (São Paulo Symphony, Alsop) 8.559814

The orchestra is the São Paulo Symphony, where Alsop remains at the helm for another year. Touching photographic reminders of her association with the ageing composer-conductor adorn each collection. Where comparisons exist, Alsop is neater than the man himself. She knows how to swing but never overeggs the pudding. © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Records International, November 2018

First recordings of 21 minutes of music commissioned for Lenny’s 70th birthday from composers who had a personal or professsional connection with him. Some of the music had an extended life (Kirchner expanded his into Music for Orchestra II) but this is the first recording of the whole set of eight variations as heard at the shed in Tanglewwod 39 years ago. CBS Music is a seven-minute suite of five pieces written for the final episode of the network’s 50th anniversary series of televised specials broadcast in 1978. The 17-minute suite of music from the huge failure that was 1600 Pennsylvaia Avenue, a show written for the U.S. bicentennial, will be new to most collectors who are not dyed-in-the-wool Lenny fans. © 2018 Records International

David Hurwitz, November 2018

No one does Bernstein, or almost Bernstein, better than Alsop these days, and the Naxos sonics are also first rate. Do by all means give this disc a spin. © 2018 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2018

A timely and fitting Birthday Bouquet from Marin Alsop, Leonard Bernstein’s most celebrated conducting pupil, to mark the centenary of his birth on August 25, 1918. Originally conceived by the Boston Symphony to mark Bernstein’s Seventy-fifth birthday, eight composers, who had a connection with him, were invited to compose a variation on the theme New York, New York from the musical comedy On the Town. Strangely the most successful came from the least expected source, Luciano Berio proving he could have become a composer of popular music; the most predictable received from the effervescent Lukas Foss with a punchy, up-beat and quirky score; the funny one from John Corigliano who opens with Copland’s Fanfare from the Common Man, and the shortest a vignette from Takemitsu. For the composer, his contribution to the United States Bicentennial, the musical 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, was close to a disaster with the critics and audience alike. An orchestral suite was compiled by Charlie Harmon after the composer’s death, and it both reshaped and re-orchestrated the orchestral part to create a continuous and very pleasing work. Five pieces written for Columbia Broadcasting Service as background music, has now been re-clothed in suitable colours. …an attractive and well-played disc, and in a very good sound quality. © 2018 David’s Review Corner

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