Thursday, August 25, 2005

Looking back

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: 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!

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