Bernstein conducts Bernstein – [TrackList follows] Soloists/New York Philharmonic/ Bernstein – Sony Classical Masters (7-CD box set)

by | Jul 23, 2012 | Classical Reissue Reviews

Bernstein conducts Bernstein – [TrackList follows] Soloists/New York Philharmonic/ Bernstein – Sony Classical Masters reissue (7-CD box set) 8 86978 80862 2, TT: 7 hrs. 51:28 *****:
These recordings were originally made during the 1960s, when Bernstein was chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic, at about the same time he was working on his pioneering cycle of the Mahler Symphonies. The orchestra was at a peak at this time and it’s great to have outstanding performances of Bernstein’s three symphonies, and his terrific Serenade for violin (with Zino Francescatti), as well as his unusual ballet Dybbuk. Some may not appreciate that the last two CDs are devoted to his rather strange hybrid of the ‘60s, Mass, as well as the complete one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti, and that we only get the popular overture to his wonderful Candide. Benny Goodman is the clarinet soloist on the Prelude, Fugue and Riffs—with the Columbia Jazz Combo, a historic performance, as are they all.
There was an earlier reissue a few years ago in Sony Classical’s Original Jackets collectionwhere each disc is in an envelope that displays the original LP artwork.  This set ran to 10 CDs and was much more expensive. Looking at the list of selections, the only one I could find not in this 7-CD reissue set was the complete musical On The Town. Judging by the more packed individual CDs here, I think more use was made of the newer 80-minute-per-disc limit, and the rest of the program is identical, only on three less CDs. I don’t think the remastered recordings of the 10-CD set were used over again in this new Masters series, because the set carries a 2011 date for the compilation. I don’t have the 10-CD set, but the sonics are slightly improved over earlier individual CDs of the same recordings. The only ones that are available in even better sonics are the first four selections on CD1, which were released as a SACD-only (not hybrid) disc back in the early days of SACD, also titled Bernstein Conducts Bernstein, and still available.  Again, as with the Bruckner Symphonies Wand set in the Masters series, there are no notes at all with the seven CDs.
Allegro molto con brio from Overture to Candide
Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Symphonic Suite from the Film “On The Waterfront”
Fancy Free Ballet
Prelude, Fugue and Riffs for Solo Clarinet and Jazz Ensemble
Dybbuk (Complete Ballet)
Serenade after Plato’s “Symposium” for Solo violin, strings, Harp and percussion
Jeremiah, Symphony No. 1
On the Town (Three Dance Episodes)
The Age of Anxiety, Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra (after W. H. Auden)
Kaddish, Symphony No. 3 (To the Beloved Memory of John F. Kennedy)
Chichester Psalms for Chorus and Orchestra
I Hate Music! A Cycle of Five Kid Songs for Soprano
La Bonne Cuisine (Four Recipes)
Trouble in Tahiti – An Opera in Seven Scenes
Facsimile – Choreographic Essay for Orchestra
Mass – A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers I
Mass – A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers II
—John Sunier

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