26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
The definitive version,
This review is from: Symphonic Dances From West Side Story / Candide Ov (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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Initial post: Jan 17, 2014 6:12:27 PM PST
The Sony SACD has the BEST sound of these performances!
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