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Legacy: Leonard Bernstein (2012)

 NR |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: International Classical Artist DVD
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008KA6NGW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,390 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The ICA Classics Legacy series presents a collection of historical performances by some of the world's greatest artists. These performances are released on DVD for the first time, incorporating rare archive footage that has been expertly and lovingly restored. 'Luckily for all of us, it wasn't enough for Leonard Bernstein to compose music and conduct orchestras. He felt equally compelled to talk about music - to try and explain what made it tick, what made it good, and what made it affect us in all the ways that music does. The other piece of good luck was that Leonard Bernstein and television came along at the same time. They were born for each other.' (Jamie Bernstein), The films on this DVD are taken from the 'Symphonic Twilight' series of TV programmes made in the mid-Sixties that were the brainchild of Humphrey Burton, then the newly appointed Head of Music and Arts Programmes for the BBC. In his booklet notes for this DVD, Burton reveals himself to have been instrumental in bringing Bernstein the conductor to the wider British public, who knew him foremost as the composer of West Side Story. In 1965 Burton persuaded Bernstein to conduct the LSO at the Royal Albert Hall and the resulting Mahler 8 was a spectacular occasion, broadcast to the nation. The following year, they put together these programmes, filmed specifically for the new television audience. The works Bernstein chose to record are twentieth-century orchestral masterpieces, for which he is known to be a champion. His recordings of Sibelius's Fifth Symphony for CBS Records and Deutsche Grammophon were acclaimed by critics worldwide, and his interpretation of The Rite of Spring in 1959 elicited an enthusiastic 'Wow!' from Stravinsky himself! They are accompanied on this DVD by an in-depth interview, given here as a bonus and subtitled in French and German.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein's Best October 27, 2012
It's astonishing how easily a grainy black and white image can transport one back in time to a youth misspent watching countless hours of television. Thankfully in my case, that time included regular doses of Leonard Bernstein's Young People's Concerts. While my generation was busy learning the intricacies of scales, intervals and symphonic development from Lenny, adult viewers across the pond were treated to a short but remarkable TV series titled "Symphonic Twilight". This disc derives from two of those 1966 BBC broadcasts.

The series was the brainchild of Humphrey Burton, then head of music and arts programming for the BBC. Burton went on to produce most (if not all) of Bernstein's videos and write a perceptive biography of the great man (Leonard Bernstein). Here, though, he seems somewhat mystified by the title Bernstein chose for his series. Citing Lenny's own three symphonies as Exhibit A, Burton muses rhetorically in his booklet essay: "Surely the symphony was not on the way out?" What Burton fails to realize is that twilight can be the most magical and magnificent part of the day. And the works Bernstein chose splendidly illustrate this point.

The conductor leads crackerjack performances of both scores. In his perceptive review of this disc (...), Dan Morgan notes that the London Symphony musicians look "more like a bunch of bank managers and accountants than top-flight musicians". Nonetheless, they play like possessed demons for their beloved maestro.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly stunning despite compromising sound. October 26, 2012
Dated video quality. Sound very crude. Not a modern Bob Coles or Brian Large spectacular. All that is true BUT..... the performance is much more integrated and, oddly, in sync than the quadraphonic recording with the same orchestra 6/7 years later. That one, the second Rite recording by Bernstein, sort of falls apart in the end (a terribly ragged Sacrificial Dance) and the sonics are also compromised, but in a different way. The performance here is as white hot as the early New York Phil recording, his first, yet better played. Could it be the best Bernstein Le Sacre??? I think so. I was thrilled by it. Add to that a great Sibelius 5 and you have an essential purchase. Add to that the little talk with Burton and Bernstein as a bonus and you have a DVD that all Bernstein fans should have; additionally it's a DVD Bernstein naysayers should hear to perhaps reconsider the presumed conclusion that he was a "indulgent over the top interpreter with no objectivity whatsoever". The orchestra applaud him in the end and are visibly in the palm of his hand. The video shows why. This was a conductor with impeccable stick technique and an encyclopedic knowledge and command of a very difficult score. Bravo Maestro. I'd encourage buying it now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The other reviewers beat me to it, so I'll just say that this Sibelius 5th far surpasses what Bernstein did with Vienna on the later DVD. No-- the sound isn't perfect. But get this while you can. You can sit around and hope, but stuff this good ain't never comin' round again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great document February 24, 2014
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Two great works conducted by someone who truly understood and could explain their artistic message. We have heard many explanations of the Rite of Spring, but none come to mind for the Sibelius. These two composers were placed together on this disc because both composers were reacting to the 20th century--a century busy casting off the methods of the previous century. The interviews with Bernstein on both works are worth hearing. Also, it was fun to see the BBC audience so clearly visible. Typically, no emotion crosses their faces as Bernstein explodes in conducting vigor and emotion. But there was a good round of applause.
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