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  • Symphonic Dances From West Side Story / Candide Ov
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Symphonic Dances From West Side Story / Candide Ov

29 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 28, 1997
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$6.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Symphonic Dances From West Side Story / Candide Ov + Bernstein Century - Copland: Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, etc / Bernstein, New York PO + Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue / An American In Paris
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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This release comes from Sony's immense backlog of famous recordings of Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. In fact, these works trace the evolution of the New York Philharmonic into a world-class orchestra in the late 1950s under Bernstein's hand. At this remove in time, we can almost hear New York in these works. Bernstein deftly captures the shimmering glamour of his music, particularly in Overture to Candide and the astonishing Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. If you don't own this music--and these performances--you should. --Paul Cook

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 28, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000029XI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,527 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Blumhofer on July 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
My initial encounter with the Candide overture was a result of my blundering into a recording of it on the radio one day. The performance turned out to be this one (the first of Bernstein's two readings of it), and having heard several other attempts at it since, I've always found this early '60s version to be the definitive edition. It's breathtakingly quick and the NYPO plays it with such panache and joie de vivre that every other recording (including LB's 1989 run-through with the London Symphony) comes off sounding stale and flat. This disc also contains Bernstein's only recording of the Symphonic Dances from WSS, and here, too, I feel that I have found my definitive reading. The "Mambo" is frenetic, the percusion riffs at the climax of "Cool" are phenomenal, and the last "I have a love..." movement is gorgeous. The score to "On the Waterfront" was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost; this music is still wonderful and very worthy to hear. "Fancy Free" was written by a 25-year old LB in 1944 and is the piece which established him as a composer. From the first four quick rim-shots to the final chords, it's the most endearing, energetic picture of on the go, wartime NY you can imagine. Once again it's the definitive recording: nobody has proven that they can top Lenny and the Philharmonic yet.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By T. Schmalz on February 8, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is a fantastic CD, featuring film and theater music composed by the American legend, Leonard Bernstein. The recordings were made with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of the composer, from 1960 to 1963. It opens with the "Overture to Candide" (and what an opening!). The sound is so good that you cannot tell it was recorded almost fifty years ago. The brass instruments are blaring, the percussion knocks your socks off, and the strings and woodwinds have a most realistic presence. Bernstein's account of the Symphonic Suite from "West Side Story" has never sounded better. The NYPO truly captures the excitement and rhythm of these short, and unforgettable pieces.

Bernstein's only film score was for Elia Kazan's Academy Award winning, 1954 blockbuster, "On the Waterfront." This soundtrack, however, is quite different from others. It can stand independent from film and be a concert piece - this is truly marvelous music. The CD closes with Bernstein's ballet, "Fancy Free", and three bonus tracks from "On the Town." All in all, the music is classically American, and pure Bernstein. Sonically, the recording is one of the best in my collection - highly recommendable.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Hodges on November 25, 2002
Format: Audio CD
If I had to choose five recordings to represent Leonard Bernstein at his absolute best, this would be one of them. Made in the mid-1960's, these recordings have been reissued a number of times, but never sounding as natural as they do here. They show off some of Bernstein's best work as a composer, as well as his inimitable conducting talent and legendary rapport with the New York Philharmonic during that time.
The disc opens with the rollicking overture to "Candide" - totally infectious - and although some other versions (including Bernstein's later one for Deutsche Grammophon) may be its equal, I can think of none that surpass this one in sheer excitement and precision. Ditto for the sizzling suite from "West Side Story," which will probably remain definitive for many years.
The sweeping music from the film "On the Waterfront" is stirringly conducted, and the addition of the sparkling ballet "Fancy Free" makes this disc a serious contender for many "Desert Island" lists. As for the recording itself, the 1960's sound is excellent and quite listenable. Obviously great care has been taken to preserve the original source material after all these years.
If you want to experience the Bernstein legend, this is probably an essential recording.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jack H. Lee on January 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I bought this CD a few years ago just to for the "Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront," which is one of my all-time favorite classic film scores. The NYPO's performance is very robust and energetic, and easily the best version available of the piece. Bernstein recorded this same piece again many years later with the Israel Philharmonic, but I found it lacking the same drive and passion as the earlier one. The NYPO really captures the mood of New York and the struggle of the dockworkers, as Bernstein envisioned for the film. And they also splendidly perform the love theme, too.
The rest of the album is also very good, but they're largely his standards that you've probably once too often. "On the Waterfront" is certainly a treat for any fan of film music from Hollywood's Golden Age. One can only imagine what it would have been like had Bernstein scored more films, but apparently the experience he had (music was cut or removed around in the film) made him think twice. But this CD is a winner.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Noah Lambert on December 26, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This CD contains some of the most wonderful music ever written. I love Fancy Free and Candide, and the recordings here are just as they should be, lots of "punch"!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bubny on February 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
A composer/conductor at the peak of his energy level in some of his own most vibrant music, working with an orchestra that (in these recordings anyway) was an extension of his personality--what more could you possibly want? In later years Bernstein re-recorded most of this music for DG (including the WSS "Symphonic Dances"), and while those readings are technically fine, they miss a lot of the verve and New York atmosphere that this CD exudes. The version I'm writing about is a 2004 reissue with remastered sound and a bonus in the form of Three Dance Episodes from "On the Town."
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Symphonic Dances From West Side Story / Candide Ov
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