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Hendo
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Program:

Bernstein: Chichester Psalms

W. Schuman: Symphony No. 3

Bernstein: The Age of Anxiety, Symphony No. 2

Among the best-known American musicians of the twentieth century, Leonard Bernstein was a true polymath, bringing great passion and skill to his multiple roles as conductor, pianist, teacher and composer. His far-reaching interests led him to compose music that tapped into American jazz and pop, as well as the inherited legacy of traditional classical music. His canon of works covers a broad spectrum, including film scores, Broadway musicals and the full range of orchestral, chamber and vocal/choral works. Harmonically, Bernstein’s scores show a strong allegiance to tonality spiced with pithy dissonances, while some works draw upon the atonality and serial (“12-tone”) techniques developed by Arnold Schönberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern, the so-called “Second Viennese School” (as opposed to the “First,” comprised of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert).

Because of his flamboyant persona and his uncanny sensitivity to the cultural pulse of America — or at least of New York — Bernstein’s music and conducting have occasionally been traduced by critics for the very reason many other people have so enjoyed his work. In both his compositions and his conducting he was willing, perhaps driven, to take artistic chances with the aim of intensifying the emotional response of audiences. No doubt his ego was strongly involved and lent his kinesthetic presence to caricature.