Customer Reviews

21
4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
17
4 star
4
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
Leonard Bernstein: Omnibus - The Historic TV Broadcasts
Price:$31.26 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
"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.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Verified Purchase
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. The intent is clearly to show how much more drama can be wrung out of a scene if everyone is singing, but I found the acted scenes to be quite dramatic and less overwrought.

I was afraid the set would be hard to watch since it's from the early days of TV, but the picture is clear enough and the sound is good enough, not great, but not distractingly bad.

Fun surprises are seeing an as yet unknown Carol Burnett, aged about 22, belting out a song called "Ooh La La" in a powdered Marie Antoinette wig, and Jean Marsh, later to become famous in Upstairs, Downstairs, as Mimi in the non-musical scenes from La Boheme.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2011
Verified Purchase
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!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2011
Verified Purchase
Whoever is interested in Leonard Bernstein as music director, or just as human being, will find this DVD set extremely enjoyable.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2013
Verified Purchase
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2013
Verified Purchase
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2013
Verified Purchase
Leonard Bernstein Omnibus was a gift for my husband. He has enjoyed it immensely. It arrived on time and in good condition.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2013
Verified Purchase
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2014
Verified Purchase
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 achieved.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2014
Verified Purchase
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. I can't wait for the concert DVD of Candide, and so thankful that we had this brilliant man on this earth, to present the Joy of Music in all it's forms to the world.

I would also like to highly recommend the DVD "Bernstein conducts Bernstein", which includes a fabulous documentary, "Teachers and Teaching" featuring the Maestro reminiscing, instructing, playing(so joyously the Ravel piano concerto), as well as beautiful tributes from other musicians. Superb viewing. Can't wait till I get The Young People's Concerts and so much more.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed


 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.