Leonard Bernstein at 100
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Postlude to LB's First DG Recording, "Carmen" at the Met
I produced this recording for Deutsche Grammophon in the fall of 1972. After several months of post-production in Hannover, I brought discs of the preliminary edit back to New York in March of 1973 and played them for LB at his Amberson Productions offices on Sixth Avenue. He liked it, and didn't ask for any of the 692 edits to be changed, but he requested a number of subtle but important changes in the mix. I went back to Germany, made those changes and sent him a new set of discs, along with a note expressing my admiration and thanks. This is the note which I received from him in reply. The recording was released later that spring to wide acclaim. It was DG's best-selling opera recording, and Maestro and I each received a Grammy Award for it.
Thomas Mowrey, New York, NY
Gag of a 3-year-old
My father hit me only twice. Once when came home at 4 am, without calling, after an evening at the Fillmore East. The first time, though, I was three years old. I was in his studio while he was studying a score. I thought it would be funny to pretend to sharpen a pencil in his ear. I believe I did deserve that slap!
Alexander Bernstein, New York, NY
"I want to see the Cand-eeee"
Candide opened in 1956. I was four. My parents were all dressed up; clearly they were about to do something exciting. “Where are you going?” I asked. “We’re going to see Candide!” Mummy said, with a little shiver of anticipation. They were going to see candy? That sounded wonderful. “I want to go too!” I said. “No, darling, this is for grownups.” Candy – for grownups? Impossible. “But I want to see the candy! I want to see the can-deee...!” I was still kicking my nanny's shins in the throes of my tantrum as Mummy and Daddy scurried out the door in their opening night finery.
Jamie Bernstein, New York, NY
Music Teacher at Westminster Choir College
I graduated from Westminster Choir College in 1990. Singing in the symphonic choir, we were exposed to many of the great conductors of the 20th century. Bernstein was by far my favorite. I vividly remember him explaining conducting gestures and other terminology using every day language; language that everyone could understand, not just trained musicians. That made such an impact on me, I became a teacher. I figured if Lenny could teach like that, so could I. Pictures of Lenny are all over my classroom, office and music studio in my home. 22 years strong. I only wish I had been able to tell him this in person.
Kathy Anderson, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Even a child understands a true artist
Four days after my ninth birthday, I heard on the radio that Leonard Bernstein died. I was sitting with my mother in the kitchen in suburban Chicago. When I heard the news, I asked her who Leonard Bernstein was, and I still remember her telling me with sadness that he was a famous musician in New York. I felt a strange and unsettling loss, like my own grandfather had died, without even knowing who the man was. Later on in life, I listened to Leonard's recordings, read his biographies, watched his Young People's concerts and lectures, and came to know and love him almost like he was a friend. To me, he will always represent the passionate pursuit of expression and and a love for beauty in spite of the pain and tragedy of life. And in an increasingly coarse and vulgar world, Leonard Bernstein reminds me that art matters.
Matt Walter, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Remembering Freiheit in Berlin, 1989
One of the most memorable days of my life. (Listen to the audio below)
Craig Urquhart, Berlin, Germany
121 W 27 St, Suite 1104, New York, NY 10001
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