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Bernstein: Chichester Psalms, Symphony 1 & 2 / Bernstein, Israel Philharmonic


Release Date: 04/08/2003 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 457757   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Christa Ludwig
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Import   
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Bernstein knew a thing or two, and if neo-Romanticism was criticized as a negation of modernism in his day, today young composers have embraced it, as have audiences. His First Symphony (“Jeremiah,” 1942), an ominous, wartime work, captures the spirit of its time in two intensely anxious movements that lead to a wrenching setting of excerpts from Lamentations, sung plangently by Christa Ludwig in Bernstein’s 1977 recording. The Second Symphony (“The Age of Anxiety”) has dark edges too, but the zesty piano writing (played here by Lukas Foss) creates an appealing, restless energy. The disc’s real draw, though, is a lithe performance of the “Chichester Psalms,” a sweetly harmonized, texturally transparent setting that prefigures Steve Reich’s Read more “Tehillim” in drawing its rhythmic vitality from the meter of the Hebrew text.

-- Allan Kozinn, The New York Times



Leonard Bernstein's New York Philharmonic recordings offer an irresistible energy and rhythmic "swing". On the other hand, these remakes have a lot going for them: Christa Ludwig's fabulous singing of the Jeremiah Symphony's concluding lament, the brilliant pianism of Lukas Foss in the Second Symphony ("The Masque" is particularly engaging), and a spectacular performance of the Chichester Psalms. There's also much to be said for the alert playing of the Israel Philharmonic: not as jazzy as in New York, but very accomplished and emphatic, with no holding back at all in the climaxes. DG's dryer sonics also offer more clarity and timbral definition than Sony's fuzzier aural frame. Listen, for example, to the crisp sound of maracas pounded on timpani (a marvelous effect!) at the climactic concluding pages of the First Symphony's second movement. The early Sony recording is more massive, this one leaner yet no less exciting. As remastered these performances sound pretty marvelous, and if pushed to choose single versions of these works, you can't go wrong here.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com [12/6/2001]
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Works on This Recording

1. Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; USA 
2. Symphony no 1 "Jeremiah" by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Christa Ludwig (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
3. Symphony no 2 "Age of Anxiety" by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 

Sound Samples

Chichester Psalms (1965): 1. Psalm 108,2 / Psalm 100
Chichester Psalms (1965): 2. Psalm 23 / Psalm 2,1-4
Chichester Psalms (1965): 3. Psalm 131 / Psalm 133,1
Symphony No.1 "Jeremiah": 1. Prophecy: Largamente
Symphony No.1 "Jeremiah": 2. Profanation: Vivace con brio
Symphony No.1 "Jeremiah": 3. Lamentation: Lento
Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 1: 1. The Prologue. Lento moderato
Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 1: 2. The Seven Ages. Var. I-VII
Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 1: 3. The Seven Stages. Var. VIII-XIV
Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 2: 1. The Dirge. Largo
Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 2: 2. The Masque. Extremely fast
Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 2: 3. The Epilogue. L'istesso tempo - Adagio - Andante - Con moto

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