Works

 
I Hate Music!

I Hate Music!: A Cycle of Five Kid Songs is dedicated to Edys Merril, a friend of Bernstein's, as well as an artist and his flatmate in the 1940s. Apparently, when fed up with hearing Bernstein constantly coaching singers and playing piano, she often uttered the title phrase. The cycle was prem…

Four Recipes for Voice and Piano

MASS

The eclecticism of MASS's music reflects the multifaceted nature of Bernstein's career, with blues, rock, gospel, folk, Broadway and jazz idioms appearing side by side with 12-tone serialism, symphonic marches, solemn hymns, Middle Eastern dances, orchestral meditations, and lush chorales, all un…

Meditations from MASS

Premiered by Rostropovich at the Kennedy Center in D.C. in 1977, the Three Meditations from MASS for cello and orchestra are derived from Bernstein's stage production which encompasses everything from humble introspection to ceremonial dance.

Missa Brevis

Dedicated to longtime friend and colleague, Robert Shaw, Bernstein's Missa Brevis is the last full choral work that he composed, based on choruses from music previously written for the play "The Lark" in 1955.

Music for Two Pianos

Bernstein composed this piece in 1937, at the age of 19.

My Twelve Tone Melody

Composed in honor of Irving Berlin's 100th Birthday, Bernstein mixes a twelve-tone row with a distorted version of two Berlin songs "My Russian Lullaby" - remembered nostalgically from LB's youth - and "Always".

Olympic Hymn

Bernstein wrote the Olympic Hymn, with text by Günter Kunert, for the 1981 International Olympic Congress in Baden-Baden. This was a significant meeting of the Congress because the boycotted Moscow games were only a year prior, and the Los Angeles games were only a few years away. It seemed as th…

On the Town

On the Town has been a classic since its original Broadway run in 1944, the show highlights the fleeting encounters and visceral energy of youth as three young sailors find love and excitement while on leave in New York City during one 24-hour period.

Leonard Bernstein's score the Academy Award-winning On The Waterfont debuted when the film opened in New York City on July 28, 1954. His score for the film received wide popular and critical acclaim, and On The Waterfront won 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Leading Actor (Marlon Bra…

Overture to Candide

Candide (1956) is operetta in the vein of Offenbach and Gilbert and Sullivan, with all the wit, élan, and sophistication that is associated with that genre, and it is immediately apparent in the Overture—in sonata form, no less.

Having only been commissioned to write dance and mood music to accompany a play, Bernstein could not hold back from writing a few numbers and choruses. Peter Pan ended up a success, with the New York Times commenting on its "melodic, colorful and dramatic score that is not afraid to be simple in s…

Piano Sonata

One of Bernstein's earliest works, composed while he was a student, for solo piano.

Bernstein composed his Piano Trio for piano, violin, and cello in 1937, while he was attending Harvard University.

Writen on the occasion of Karl Boehm's eighty-fifth birthday: "with affection from his admiring colleague," and completed in Munich, 25 August 1979, Bernstein's birthday. The nonsense worlds imply Hassidic vocalizations.

Originally written for Woody Hermann, this triptych for solo clarinet and jazz ensemble was dedicated to Benny Goodman and first performed by Al Gallodoro in 1955. The score reflects Bernstein's unique ability to embrace a style and make it his own. The three movements all share the exuberance and…

While this early Bernstein composition gives no indication of his eventual compositional style, it does reveal the musical environment to which he was exposed as a youngster at his family’s congregation—specifically the music of Solomon Braslavsky.

This piece, in a different version, appeared on Jewish Holiday Dances and Songs (1948, Vox), a 78-rpm recording produced by Corrine Chochem.

Serenade (after Plato's Symposium)

Scored for solo violin, harp, string orchestra, and percussion, Serenade remains one of Bernstein’s most lyrical orchestral works.

Shivaree

A fanfare for double brass ensemble and percussion, commissioned by and dedicated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in honor of its Centenary in 1969.