Lectures/Scripts/WritingsInterviewsEdinburgh Festival Concert, 1975

Edinburgh Festival Concert
BBC 9/14/75

(Opens with shot of Leonard Bernstein playing piano)

Leonard Bernstein: A marvelous piece.

Questionnaire: One of Leonard Bernstein's favorites?

(10:00:26) LB: It's always been. I think it was one of Mozart's favorites too. One that he particularly liked conducting as well as playing.

Q: Operatic?

LB: It has many operatic elements in it and that may be one of the things that made it so close to Mozart's heart and to mine because Mozart's operas are very close to my heart not only in the great cantabiles in the slow movements which are extremely operatic (plays) . . . actually romantic music. I've always felt Mozart was a very romantic composer anyway.

Q: Leonard Bernstein has been accused of being romantic musically.

LB: Well, I don't take that as an accusation since for one thing Mozart was such a romantic composer, and I've always felt that and that the emphasis on even pearly scales in a Mozart Concerto as a criterion by which to judge a performance I think is a rather poor one. (plays) It's no that sound at all. I mean you can make it sound that way if you have a clavichord attitude toward it but it is capable of producing phrasings so that those runs or so called passage works which people usually play just as evenly as mean this is also sung. I mean this is also sung music.Everything that Mozart composed was sung so that you could play (plays)...I didn't play that very well but I just wanted to give you an idea of what possibilities of phrasings there are even in a non-melodic passage.

Q: What about the finale?

LB: Yes, that is very "Figaro" indeed, especially the coda of the variation. The very last variation could well be out of Figaro. (plays and hums)

Q: [Use of wind]

(10:02:53) LB: Yes. Well of course the miracle, one of the millions of miracles of this concerto is the enormous variety that Mozart is able to achieve orchestrally in spite of the fact that he doesn't use trumpets and drums in this concerto. It's a very intimate little orchestra with the usual compliment of winds, one flute and two oboes. But because of doublings and because of almost magical uses ofthese instruments he is able to produce sounds that really don't occur in the other concertos and for that reason I place the winds very close to me right in front of me, in my line of vision so that they can hear the piano. I play chamber music with the mass on my left.

Q: [Does he have control of playing and conductin]

LB: Well, I believe, you were in Salzburg when we did it and I think, would you say it was controlled?...The London Symphony Orchestra is a marvelous group for this kind of thing because they follow so intimately and it is really a chamber music experience for all of us really.

Q: [LB's feelings about tonight's performance]

LB: I am happy because I am going to play chamber music and that's my favorite activity as a performer to play with my friends and what the Viennese call Kammermusik, to make music together there's a subtle difference between that and coming out and performing for an audience. And we play for one another and with one another.

(When last few words are spoken the screen is blacked out so that all you can hear is LB's voice)