Leonard Bernstein: Omnibus - The Historic TV Broadcasts
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"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.
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.Read more ›
I really enjoyed the one on conducting, which I had not seen, since I have not ever really studied the topic.
"West Side Story" - an amazing talent.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I grew up on the "Young People's Concerts" in the 60s, and these broadcasts taught me even more, about such a variety of music -- jazz, "modern" music, musical... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
I grew up with this show and I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to learn about classical music. Bernstein was the best teacher!!Published 29 days ago by Xrunningman
This DVD contains perhaps one of the most lucid descriptions of Jazz - from a listener's point of view - that I know of. Read morePublished 4 months ago by shopper2015
Gift for my father in law and he likes it a lot. Shipping was exceptional. Thank you!Published 6 months ago by Netter
AGAIN, lITS LEONARD BERNSTEIN! AWSUM. A GENIUS OF OUR TIME. A MUST HAVE. 😃Published 17 months ago by Belinda
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