The Leonard Bernstein Letters

The Leonard Bernstein Letters

Language: English

Pages: 624

ISBN: 030017909X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Leonard Bernstein was a charismatic and versatile musician—a brilliant conductor who attained international super-star status, and a gifted composer of Broadway musicals (West Side Story), symphonies (Age of Anxiety), choral works (Chichester Psalms), film scores (On the Waterfront), and much more. Bernstein was also an enthusiastic letter writer, and this book is the first to present a wide-ranging selection of his correspondence. The letters have been selected for the insights they offer into the passions of his life—musical and personal—and the extravagant scope of his musical and extra-musical activities.
Bernstein’s letters tell much about this complex man, his collaborators, his mentors, and others close to him. His galaxy of correspondents encompassed, among others, Aaron Copland,Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, Thornton Wilder, Boris Pasternak, Bette Davis, Adolph Green, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and family members including his wife Felicia and his sister Shirley. The majority of these letters have never been published before. They have been carefully chosen to demonstrate the breadth of Bernstein’s musical interests, his constant struggle to find the time to compose, his turbulent and complex sexuality, his political activities, and his endless capacity for hard work. Beyond all this, these writings provide a glimpse of the man behind the legends: his humanity, warmth, volatility, intellectual brilliance, wonderful eye for descriptive detail, and humor.

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place in better perspective the allegation which has given rise to the long delay in passing upon the problem. I realize now that I might have made the task of the Passport Division of the State Department an easier one if in 1949, when I came to realize that I had been imposed upon, I had made a public disavowal of the harmful significance which had been attached to the use of my name and prestige by questionable organizations. Unfortunately I did not do so and confined my efforts to advising

very sweet they are, faithful to the end. They want us to stay with them in Florence, but no. I don't quite understand about your big trip here with Helena. You mean you would wait until April to come? Que lata! What does Karish say? I know it would be lovely to make the trip with Helena, and I'd love you to, but can't she come earlier too? Your traveling tourist wouldn't make no never-mind. But I hope you don't expect to start with her a pension too! Of course I'll find a nice inexpensive

described a “plot by Leonard Bernstein, conductor and composer, to embarrass the President [Nixon] and other Government officials through an antiwar and anti-Government musical composition to be played at the dedication of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts [several lines redacted]. The purpose of this action was to embarrass high Government officials, possibly even the President who might be present.” It also cited Bernstein's visits to discuss the Mass with the priest and peace activist

Hollywood, on 24, 27, and 28 April 1954 (see Burlingame 2003, pp. 130–1). Bernstein's Symphonic Suite from “On the Waterfront” was made in 1955 and first performed on 11 August 1955 at Tanglewood. It was dedicated to Alexander Bernstein, who had been born on 7 July. 80 Kazan is exaggerating a little, since Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger had appeared in earlier films, but On the Waterfront was their first major success; it was a screen debut for Eve Marie Saint. 81 Some of On the Waterfront was

(1812–33), the mysterious German youth of reputedly noble origin who inspired a poem by Verlaine and is mentioned by Herman Melville in Billy Budd and by Hans Christian Andersen in Beauty of Form and Beauty of Mind, as well as being the subject of Jakob Wassermann's 1908 novel Caspar Hauser oder Die Trägheit des Herzens. 86 Paul Bowles wrote in his review that the Clarinet Sonata “had something which is at a premium in contemporary music: meaty, logical harmony. It was also alive, tough, and

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