Symphony No. 3: Kaddish (1963)
In his Kaddish Symphony, Leonard Bernstein exploits the dualistic overtones of the Kaddish prayer: its popular connotation as a kind of requiem, and its celebration of life ( i.e. creation). He does this both in his speaker's text and in his music. In the original version, the choice of a woman as the Speaker and as vocal soloist (singing sacred words traditionally reserved for men in the synagogue) was in itself a dualistic decision. The woman represented in the Symphony, that aspect of humankind which know God through intuition, and can come closest to Divinity, a concept at odds with the male principal of organized rationality.
The Leonard Bernstein Office Mission
The Leonard Bernstein Office (LBO) sustains and strengthens Leonard Bernstein’s legacy by inspiring global engagement with his work as a composer, conductor, educator, and humanitarian. Through licensing, promotion, music editing, and publishing, the LBO strives to communicate his lifelong devotion to the transformative power and joy of music.
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Thus Spake Leonard Bernstein:
"Stillness is our most intense mode of action. It is in our moments of deep quiet that is born every idea, emotion, and drive which we eventually honor with the name of action. Our most emotionally active life is lived in our dreams, and our cells renew themselves most industriously in sleep. We reach highest in meditation, and farthest in prayer. In stillness every human being is great; he is free from the experience of hostility; he is a poet, and most like an angel."
Leonard Bernstein, 1976