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Leonard Bernstein, Larger Than Life, Blu-ray 2016

Probably the best documentary on the great conductor and composer.

Leonard Bernstein, Larger Than Life, Blu-ray 2016

Directed by: George Wobbly
Studio: C Major/Unitel Classica 73004 [5/27/16]
Video: For 16:9 screens colof 1080i HD
Audio: English PCM stereo
Subtitles: English, German, French, Korean, Japanese
Extras: Bonus interviews with conductors Dudomel, Nagano, Alsop
Length: 76 min.
Rating: *****

This, though a bit late, may be the best documentary film on the great conductor, composer and bon vivant. I can’t think of any other that brings across amazing passion and energy of Leonard Bernstein. And the various talking heads all support the idea of his amazing genius and accompilshments.

This wonderful documentary shows why he was considered one of the most influential classical musicians of the last century. He was an inspirational teacher (and the documentary spends a great deal of time on his long-running Young People’s Concerts on TV), a brilliant conductor who brought the symphonies of Mahler to the pubic eye and ear, a fine composer, and an accomplished pianist. His Omnibus TV programs broke down barriers in an extraordinary manner and reached large audiences worldwide, way beyond classical music.

Several of his children are included in the interviews, plus Gustavo Dudamel, Stephen Sondheim, Marin Alsop, Norman Lebrecht, and many others. The clips of Bernstein conducting are just long enough and perfectly illustrate his strong physical presence onstage, not offered by any other conductor.

—John Sunier

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