The Salem Symphonic Winds will celebrate Bernstein’s centennial with a performance of some of his most beloved works. Leonard Bernstein excelled as a composer, conductor, author, music lecturer and pianist. As a composer he wrote in many styles, including symphonic and orchestral music, film, opera, musical theatre and more. In this program we offer a sampling of his work in a diverse medium. Read more below.
His first symphony was based on the Biblical story of the prophet Jeremiah, who warned his people of the coming destruction of Jerusalem. He was mocked by them for it and lamented when it came to pass. Profanation is the second movement, a scherzo which dramatizes the savage mockery that Jeremiah experiences from the priests of the Temple of Solomon when he warns them that their corrupt ways will bring about its destruction. Its opening liturgical melody evolves into a chaotic pagan celebration.
Bernstein’s operetta Candide is based on the French philosopher Voltaire’s satirical 1759 novella of the same name. The work follows Candide through a series of traumas that lead him from unbridled optimism to a resolution to focus on cultivation of his garden. The Candide Suite includes five movements representing his evolution: The Best of All Possible Worlds, Wesphalia Chorale and Battle Music, Auto-da-fe, Glitter and Be Gay and Make Our Garden Grow.
Bernstein wrote his only film score for the 1954 crime drama On the Waterfront, starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger and Eva Marie Saint. He was frustrated about how much of his writing was a victim of editing in the cutting room. His response was to create a suite representing the best of his scoring for the film — Suite from On The Waterfront.
The Symphonic Dances from West Side Story represent Bernstein’s consummate composition for musical theatre. They refine the power and drama of the musical to a magnificent 24-minute suite.
Bernstein was an American treasure. We are thrilled to share with you a sampling of the riches of his compositional legacy.
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