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Bernstein - Symphonies Nos 1 & 2

Composer Leonard Bernstein
Performer Anna Larsson
Roland Pöntinen
Arctic Philharmonic
Christian Lindberg, conductor
Period Modern
Catalogue Number BIS-2298 SACD
EAN 7318599922980
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

Release date Mar 2020
Total time 59'43

At the age of 21, Leonard Bernstein wrote what he described as a ‘Hebrew song’ using a text from the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Three years later the song became the final movement of his Symphony No. 1 and in January 1944 Bernstein himself conducted the première of the work. What is being lamented is the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC, but according to the composer, he primarily wanted to convey the text’s ‘emotional quality’. The first movement thus aims to parallel in feeling the intensity of &&&the prophet’s pleas while the scherzo gives a general sense of the destruction and chaos. Being a setting of the biblical text, the third movement is naturally more literary: the cry of Jeremiah, as he mourns his beloved Jerusalem.

During the next few years, Bernstein’s career as a conductor took flight, while the musical On the Town made his name on Broadway. Towards the end of the 1940s he returned to the symphonic genre, however – once more with an extra-musical inspiration. W. H. Auden’s poem The Age of Anxiety is set during the recently concluded war, and falls – like the symphony – into six sections during which four characters express their anxieties, hopes and the quest for meaning and identity. Bernstein chose to portray all four characters via a single instrument, the piano, but he did not want to label the work a piano concerto. The instrument does however come to the fore at various points and in one of the final sections Bernstein supplies what is arguably the most exuberant and rhythmically dazzling display of piano writing in the symphonic literature. For this Christian Lindberg and the Arctic Philharmonic have enlisted the aid of Roland Pöntinen, while Anna Larsson is the soloist in Jeremiah.
Choose format
  Leonard Bernstein
  Symphony No. 1 (Jeremiah) 23'42
01 I. Prophecy 6'32
02 II. Profanation 7'49
03 III. Lamentation 9'21
  Symphony No. 2 (The Age of Anxiety) 35'03
04 The Prologue 2'06
05 The Seven Ages (Variations I to VII) 8'13
06 The Seven Stages (Variations VIII to XIV) 6'20
07 The Dirge 6'06
08 The Masque 5'01
09 The Epilogue 7'17
  Album total 59'43
ComposerBernstein, Leonard
ConductorLindberg, Christian
OrchestraArctic Philharmonic
Mezzo sopranoLarsson, Anna
PianoPontinen (Pöntinen), Roland

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