Today would have been Bernstein's 87th birthday...I remember back in 1990 hearing about his death on the radio...I remember being in the basement of the house I was sharing with two brass players, it's really a vivid memory...just a few weeks before Copland had passed away also...leaving America with two musical losses.
Now, 15 years later, I'm on the other side of the speakers, and programmed quite a bit of Bernstein, his music and his performances.
Back in 1990 I soon explored Bernstein's writings much more so, I had already gotten his Joy of Music, but went on to buy other books and writings, even a nice book of mostly photos, like this one: http://www.rozhlas.cz/vyroci/portal/_obrazek/00016025.jpeg of him conducting, Bernstein Remembered. I unpacked it last night.
Right now, listening to the Chichester Psalms, I remember playing viola in an orchestra conducted by another great American musician, Robert Shaw during a residency he did at Wichita State. Also on that program was the Durufle Requiem. The Bernstein went off really well, but the Durufle peaked too soon - that is the dress rehearsal was amazing - but the performance had many mistakes and didn't feel right - literally gave it all at the dress and it suffered. It was also a performance that used a male soprano in the second movement - he went on to do some work with Shaw in France, as well as the choral conductor, one of the most dedicated and talented conductors I know, Robert Glasmann.
Seems like yesterday and at the same time, like a hundred years ago.
Nice memories nonetheless.
Here's to you Lenny!