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Leonard Bernstein: Omnibus - The Historic TV Broadcasts (2010)

Leonard Bernstein , Carol Burnett  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Leonard Bernstein: Omnibus - The Historic TV Broadcasts + Leonard Bernstein - Young People's Concerts / New York Philharmonic + The Unanswered Question - Six Talks at Harvard by Leonard Bernstein
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Product Details

  • Actors: Leonard Bernstein, Carol Burnett, Benny Goodman, Hans Conried, Alistair Cooke
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (PCM Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: E1 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 449 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002OVB9Z8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,672 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Leonard Bernstein: Omnibus - The Historic TV Broadcasts" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Hosted by Alastair Cooke, Omnibus was a monumental series, featuring diverse live broadcasts on science, the arts and the humanities. This historic collection includes seven episodes featuring lectures, performances and master classes from the legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein. Includes: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (1954), The World of Jazz (1955), The Art of Conducting (1955), American Musical Comedy (1956), Introduction to Modern Music (1957), The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach (1957) and What Makes Opera Grand? (1958).

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the Golden Age of Television January 28, 2010
"Omnibus" ran on ABC, CBS, and NBC at various times from 1952 to 1961. The program showcased both established stars and rising talent from the worlds of music, dance, theater, and opera. Long a staple of Sunday afternoon programming, "Omnibus" eventually moved to other time slots and networks when the value of Sunday real estate rose with the broadcasting of professional football.
"Omnibus: Leonard Bernstein" is a four-disc set containing seven shows aired between 1954 and 1958 that feature Mr. Bernstein's enthusiastic lecture/performances about classical and other forms of music. Bernstein was equally at home with classical music and musical theater. He wrote the scores for "West Side Story" and "On the Town" and was the longtime conductor of the New York Philharmonic.
His "Omnibus" debut was "Beethoven's Fifth Symphony" (broadcast live on CBS, November 14, 1954). Other shows include "The World of Jazz," "American Musical Comedy," "Introduction to Modern Music," "The Music of J.S. Bach," "The Art of Conducting," and "What Makes Opera Grand?" The shows are the kind of fare that today can only be seen on PBS. The TV audience of millions were both entertained and educated by Bernstein's spirited programs. Clearly, he loved his subjects and his energy and passion come through, even in black and white on the small screen. Extras include a bonus performance of Handel's "Messiah" and a 24-page booklet with contributions written by music critic John Rockwell.
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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Aboard the Omnibus June 16, 2010
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Omnibus was a TV series that debuted in 1952, was hosted by Alistair Cooke, and was mostly about the arts. You might see an original play or a dance performance, a discussion of architecture, or some comedy. Conductor Leonard Bernstein appeared many times over the years. This collection features six of his talks about music and a performance of Handel's Messiah.

Bernstein's first appearance on the show was in 1954 with a fascinating half hour on Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. In it, Bernstein explores Beethoven's notebooks to discover what changes Beethoven made to his most famous composition before he decided it was ready for prime time. It's really quite interesting to hear an orchestra play what were early drafts of the Fifth.

It's just as interesting to see this young, dark-haired Bernstein, already a star, athletically urging the orchestra on, singing (a good singing voice was one of the few musical gifts the Maestro did not possess), playing the piano and organ, conducting, even sneaking a cigarette now and then. His manner is professorial and enthusiastic, an engaging combination. He seems to genuinely want to share what he loves about music, and although he indulges in a bit of showing off now and then, it never comes off as condescending.

As someone who knows next to nothing about the study of music, I found this set educational, but not always in the way Bernstein intended. I learned a lot from the Beethoven episode, and the shows about Bach and jazz. Sometimes we end up learning more about Bernstein's preferences than anything else. In the show about opera, he contrasts operatic scenes from La Boheme with the same scenes, but done as theater, without music.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars oh what a joy February 17, 2011
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i stumbled on this issue of programs by chance last xmas--some of us of-a-certain-age will remember watching these broadcasts (often to the pleased wonder of our parents) and will rejoice to watch them (with or without grandkids) 50 years later--AND the issue is on sale!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting January 30, 2011
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Whoever is interested in Leonard Bernstein as music director, or just as human being, will find this DVD set extremely enjoyable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars None better than Bernstein to direct music August 12, 2013
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I bought these for my college music appreciation class. While dated, the information and energy cannot be missed. Bernstein is one of a kind and lives on in his passion to teach and guide young people in understanding music.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leonard Bernstein DVD April 14, 2013
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One of the all-time greats in the music world - not only in classical music and teaching to TV audience many years ago - but in a favorite Broadway show
"West Side Story" - an amazing talent.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great August 1, 2013
By P. Cool
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Leonard Bernstein Omnibus was a gift for my husband. He has enjoyed it immensely. It arrived on time and in good condition.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Experience August 13, 2013
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I was away at school when these programs originally aired so it's an extraordinary gift to be able to see them for the first time in their entirety. I'd always heard mention of the famous Bernstein line, "three Gs and an E flat" when discussing Beethoven's Fifth. Now I can finally hear those words myself. And his discussion of the history of American Musical Theatre - astounding, brilliant! Through these wonderful discs he lives on and teaches on, forever.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great insight into music. He is a talented lecturer.
Published 25 days ago by Park, Sheen Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent series
Published 1 month ago by harmonicamaster
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The only bad thing is that it doesnt came with subtitles in spanish.
Published 1 month ago by Angel vera
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank God for Technology.
Look, I think I've already died and gone to Heaven with Lenny, watching these dvds. The Maestro's analysis of The St Matthew Passion bought me to tears. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Anne Suttor
5.0 out of 5 stars The Music Man
In addition to his gifts as a conductor and composeer, Bernstein was also a riveting and charming educator, a truly effective teacher of what music can do and how its effects are... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Stephen J. Whitfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Leonard Bernstein Omnibus
One is immediately struck by the fact that the recordings were made in the early digital age. My second criticism refers to the compilation in mixing classics, jazz etc. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Monty Shnier
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein is awesome
I learned so much from watching this. Leads me to wonder, how come no one told me to watch them much earlier.
Published 15 months ago by C. Yo
4.0 out of 5 stars Love whatever Bernstein does, but naturally these programs are a...
And what a bonus to hear the premiere of Prelude, Fugue and Riffs, and prove it WASN'T Benny Goodman, but Al Gallodoro
Published 16 months ago by Jan Tankard
Published 22 months ago by Philip E. Paules
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American Musical Comedy
She sings a song from Cole Porter's "DuBarry Was a Lady", a song that was omitted from the movie version. There are also partial renditions of "Someone To Watch Over Me" and "Some Enchanted Evening", as well as tiny bits from other musicals. He talks a lot about... Read More
Mar 6, 2010 by albertatamazon |  See all 2 posts
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