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Bernstein: The Symphonies, Serenade / Bernstein, Israel PO

Release Date: 08/16/1994 
Label:  Dg 20th Century Classics Catalog #: 445245   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Christa LudwigLukas FossMontserrat CaballéMichael Wager,   ... 
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic OrchestraVienna Youth ChorusVienna Boys' Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

[N]one of the music is likely in the foreseeable future to get better representation on disc than it does in this album. All of it has been done on record by Bernstein before for CBS; now, as an integral set with the Israel Philharmonic, the burning intensity of the music has found its natural voice and at the same time a marvellously rewarding voice. The soloists, too—piano, soprano, boy treble, speaker—all could hardly be bettered.

-- Gramophone [9/1978]
reviewing the Symphonies on LP


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
Read more fabulous singing of the Jeremiah Symphony's concluding lament, the brilliant pianism of Lukas Foss in the Second Symphony ("The Masque" is particularly engaging)... 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.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com [12/6/2001]
reviewing Symphonies 1 and 2


Kaddish has somehow meant more to me this time around. The narration is still a hard act to swallow (wisely. Bernstein cut back quite heavily on it for this 1977 revision), but if you can get beyond the more cloying sentiment and dubious melodramatics (gamely negotiated by Michael Wager), then some undeniably terrific music is your reward.

That beautiful setting for soprano and boys' choir speaks for itself, but I had quite forgotten about the wonderful Coplandesque melody seemingly materializing from nowhere towards the end of the third movement. The recording, bright and percussive like the early choruses, makes a vivid Impression on CD...

-- Edward Seckerson, Gramophone [10/1988]
reviewing Symphony no 3, originally released on CD as DG 423582


Serenade, with its inventive, witty, and everhaunting thematic games, is much underrated. At its heart is "Agathon", the host of Plato's ficticious Symposium, his treatise on the nature of love inspiring six of Bernstein's finest minutes. Gidon Kremer's serene introspection here is something very special; the composer has no right to expect better.

-- Edward Seckerson, Gramophone [1/1989]
reviewing the Serenade, originally released as DG 423583
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Works on This Recording

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 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin 
Length: 24 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Symphony no 2 "Age of Anxiety" by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Lukas Foss (Piano)
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin 
Length: 35 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Symphony no 3 "Kaddish" by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Montserrat Caballé (Soprano), Michael Wager (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Youth Chorus,  Vienna Boys' Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961-1963; USA 
Date of Recording: 08/1977 
Venue:  Rheingold-Halle, Mainz, Germany 
Length: 39 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: Hebrew 
Serenade for Violin and Orchestra "after Plato's Symposium" by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Gidon Kremer (Violin)
Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/1978 
Venue:  Live  Frederick Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv 
Length: 29 Minutes 23 Secs. 

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