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American Classics - Bernstein: Chichester Psalms, Etc

Release Date: 09/23/2003 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559177   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Thomas KellyVictoria NaylerJeremy BuddPaul Charrier,   ... 
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony OrchestraBournemouth Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 48 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Marin Alsop follows up her excellent Samuel Barber series for Naxos with works by her one-time mentor, Leonard Bernstein. For the most part, she and the Bournemouth Symphony deliver the goods. The suite Bernstein fashioned from his lone film score, On the Waterfront, contains some of this composer's most vibrant and involving music, where no section of the orchestra goes under-utilized. Everything in the score clearly stands out under Alsop's eagle eyes and ears, with syncopated rhythms and canonic passages securely aligned and the Bournemouth brass at their assertive best (especially in the final Allegro non troppo section)...The Bournemouth strings come into their own in Chichester Psalms, notably in the third-movement prelude. Read more Alsop's brisk tempos serve the first movement's insouciant asymmetry well, and she makes the third movement's lyrical points through strict dynamic gradations and steady tempos (it's so tempting to milk this music to death!). The chorus is expertly prepared, and the small solo parts are handled as well as they can be. Boy soprano Thomas Kelly's centered pitch and clear diction deserves more than honorable mention. My only complaint about Naxos' wide-ranging sonics is that you can barely understand the words at loud moments--but listeners will find texts and translations are provided. Yes, no one conducts Bernstein like Lenny, but Marin Alsop manages to make this music her own. And that's no small feat."

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com


Bernstein the composer has a champion in Marin Alsop, who decided to become a conductor after hearing him lead the New York Philharmonic when she was 9. On a Naxos disc, she conducts an uplifting performance of his colorful "Chichester Psalms" with the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra (of which she was principal conductor from 2002 to 2008). Bernstein described the "Psalms," for which he set Hebrew texts, as the "most B flat majorish tonal piece I’ve ever written." The recording also includes lively renditions of his Three Dance Episodes from "On the Town" (a musical theater piece) and the Symphonic Suite from "On the Waterfront," which uses material (including some that was cut) from his 1954 film score.

--Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times
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Works on This Recording

Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Thomas Kelly (Treble), Victoria Nayler (Soprano), Jeremy Budd (Tenor),
Paul Charrier (Bass), Elisabeth Franklin-Kitchen (Soprano)
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,  Bournemouth Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; USA 
Date of Recording: 04/2003 
Venue:  Lighthouse, Poole Centre for the Arts 
Length: 17 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: English 
On the Waterfront: Symphonic Suite by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; USA 
Date of Recording: 04/2003 
Venue:  Lighthouse, Poole Centre for the Arts 
Length: 19 Minutes 25 Secs. 
On the Town: Three Dance episodes by Leonard Bernstein
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 
Date of Recording: 04/2003 
Venue:  Lighthouse, Poole Centre for the Arts 
Length: 10 Minutes 32 Secs. 

Sound Samples

On the Waterfront: - Symphonic Suite from the Film
Chichester Psalms: I. Psalm 108 vs. 2, Psalm 100
Chichester Psalms: II. Psalm 23, Psalm 2 vs. 1-4
Chichester Psalms: III. Psalm 131, Psalm 133 vs. 1
On the Town: I. The Great Lover
On the Town: II. Lonely Town: Pas de Deux
On the Town: III. Times Square: 1944

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