Talk:Leonard Bernstein

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Dates of collaboration with the Vienna Philharmonic[edit]

Bernstein's recording of Mahler's Song of the Earth with the Vienna Philharmonic was made in 1966 so the assertion that he began conducting them in 1970 is mistaken. Maybe this refers to concerts as opposed to studio work but if such is the case then it should be made unambiguous. Does anyone have more information? --S.Camus (talk) 16:30, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Ode to Joy and the Berlin Wall[edit]

Helga, I'm very happy you found that item about Ode to Joy and the Berlin Wall. I've always loved that tune, from when I was a little boy. --Ed Poor

Not 'chicester' but 'chichester'[edit]

Cheers, Marco Lazzeri

POV material[edit]

Comments such as these are blatant POV and cannot be included:

As an interpreter, Bernstein was like "the little girl with the little curl": When he was good, he was untouchable - too many of his recordings to name are still considered the definitive interpretations of the works in question. When he was bad - most commonly in works he had to conduct as any world-famous conductor with a recording contract must - he could be dreadful in his interpretations, if he personally disliked the piece. This pattern showed up in many aspects of his life.

It is not the job of Wikipedia to say when Bernstein is "good" or "bad". Such judgments can only be reported if made my repected critics or other third parties. See WP:NPOV

Grover cleveland 02:58, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

I think that section has already been removed. I couldn't find it. AlbertSM 00:37, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Sbpat21's edit[edit]

Does anyone have a reference for this? Even if they do, I'm not sure it's that important to the article. I'll remove the sentence if not cited in the next few days. David Underdown 08:17, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

There are about 13,000 refs you can find by googling "Leonard Bernstein" "Samuel Byck". You could also cite Assassins (musical). - Nunh-huh 09:44, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

One good reference is the 2004 film The Assassination of Richard Nixon, starring Sean Penn. AlbertSM 00:38, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Even referenced, this is something notable about Samuel Byck, not about Bernstein. I'm going to remove it. It might be more appropriate with some description of Bernstein's reaction to the tapes - if he just threw them out without listening, then it is completely irrelevant.

It's trivia, it's irrelevant and unencyclopedic. Also, references should be given by whoever added the info (in this case Sbpat21). Remember that any info not sourced can be challenged and removed by any editor.--Karljoos (talk) 18:00, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Bernstein's homosexuality is well documented[edit]

Is no one going to write about his most notorious aspect? - Ahmad Azrai

Hopefully someone who recognizes it's not "his most notorious aspect"". - Outerlimits 07:52, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
I have inserted a brief account of his family life, with references to his homosexuality. His sexual life was "notorious" only in the sense of being a frequent subject of gossip at the time. Unfortunately, many today still consider same-sex relationships shameful (see many of Wiki's articles on other contemporary figures in Classical music, esp. the Talk Page on Vladimir Horowitz). 19:54, 28 May 2006 (UTC) Allen Roth

Accept that this musical genius was gay. What's with the removing of any and all trace of his homosexuality? As a proud gay person, I'm sad to know that there are Wikipedia users out there that are uncomfortable with the truth: that he was gay. C'mon people, his bio is part of the WikiProject GLBT Studies for a reason. It's well documented that he was gay and that it was a major part of who he was; as well as the fact that he ALSO adored his wife and kids. This is NOT disputed.

If you have a POV that being gay is somehow wrong, that's your right, but it's not your right to obscure the facts. If this fact is not left in, I will petition for editing protection. ---Kaihoku 06:37, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

His homosexuality has nothing to do with his greatness as a conductor or composer. I don't think this aspect should be overly emphasized, though, or it might make the article seem voyeuristic.AlbertSM 01:41, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

I quite agree with this position. WP is a general-interest encyclopedia, and Bernstein is known to the public at large as a great musician, not as a great gay guy. Sure, it's a part of who he was, but it is not the reason for his celebrity. --Wspencer11 (talk to me...) 14:05, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

When I was in New York, I recall hearing that Bernstein preferred young black boys, and it was getting around that that is what he was doing, and that the board of the New York Philharmonic told him he had to do something, change his behaviour - whatever - because it was going to affect the orchestra's reputation and that if the situation did not change, that they would not be able to keep him. Is there any documentation of this? Is this why Bernstein left the New York Philharmonic? This story was well-known in New York. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:08, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

I believe you're confusing Bernstein with another eminent conductor based in New York, about whom this exact same story has circulated for years. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:11, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

I have removed the reference to Thomas Hampson being one of his rumored lovers because I thought it much too gossipy. This is an encyclopedia biography, not a page out of the National Enquirer. AlbertSM (talk) 18:58, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Here's an interesting quote, the veracity of which I cannot vouch for: "Most people do think of me as just another pinko faggot, a bleeding heart, a do-gooder ... but that's what I am". -- JackofOz (talk) 07:13, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

All right, maybe it is well documented but is it relevant enough to be in an article? Cheers --Karljoos (talk) 15:37, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Well said. When I was growing up, Leonard Bernstein was the most famous conductor in the world, and nobody ever referred to his sexual orientation or seemed to care about it one way or the other. He became famous, not because of his bisexuality, but because of his incredible ability to explain music to people and for his greatness as a conductor. I may get raked over the coals for saying this, but those who want to emphasize his sexual orientation, are, IMHO, pushing their own agenda of making homosexuality more visible to the public (hey, isn't it great; even somebody as accepted and admired as Bernstein was gay!). They are not interested in exploring what makes a musician outstanding. AlbertSM (talk) 01:10, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Well he was certainly less of a closet queen than you suggest. He would have been much more out, but he didn't want to hurt Felicia. Here's another oft-cited quote, but I can't find a reliable source: "To be a success as a Broadway composer, you must be Jewish or gay. I'm both."-- (talk) 15:36, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

@ AlbertSM: Certain things were simply not talked about, back in the good old days. Doesn't mean they didn't happen. Nobody's suggesting we make his sexuality the main thing about him. It is only one aspect of his personality, but an important one. It is certainly as important for an understanding of the man as the fact that his family spent their summers at their vacation home in Sharon, Massachusetts, or that his father's bookshop is standing today on the corners of Amesbury and Essex Streets. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 10:29, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Good show, Jack. I think a person's sexual orientation, particularly that of an artist, may at times provide a keen insight into what he/she stood for, what his/her works meant and the circumstances and difficulties they had to cope with. That's certainly the case with Bernstein, as it is with Robert Mapplethorpe, Sviatoslav Richter or Montgomery Clift, for example. Wikipedia is the only encyclopedia which mentions and discusses these issues, and I think it is all the better for it. By the way, I'm hetero, so I'm not pushing any agenda here. MUSIKVEREIN (talk) 13:43, 17 December 2010 (UTC)


It would also be nice to see some mention of LB's connection with Koussevitzky; I will add this if I have time and nobody else does so. Wspencer11 13:48, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Done. -- ßottesiηi (talk) 00:36, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Composer section[edit]

Is Mitropoulos really that well-known as a composer? Plenty of conductors have written music but very rarely nowadays are they known as both conductors and composers; John Adams is a notable exception. I find it hard to believe that Lorin Maazel or Wilhelm Furtwängler or any of the others will be remembered for their compositions in any way. Though I didn't remove DM the first time I don't think he should have been reinstated. --Wspencer11 (talk to me...) 15:22, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

Where is it??

There isn't any section about Bernstein as a composer. In the classical world, his works are held in high esteem, especially for the way they combine contemporary writing with popular music (such as twelve-tone techniques in "West Side Story"), similar to Gershwin. His symphonies and other works are still widely performed today. (Chichester Psalms, Divertimento, as well as musicals and stage works) He IS one of the rare composer-conductors who still are famous for both. Could somebody write such a paragraph? -- megA 12:39, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Radical chic[edit]

I do not believe that the external link to a site concerning the Tom Wolfe book is, in and of itself, a sufficient reference to this aspect of Mr. Bernstein's significance in the cultural history of the U.S. He was an absolute icon of "radical chic." I believe that this matter deserves a mention in the body of the article. 17:11, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Bernstein hated identification with "radical chic". In a "60 Minutes" interview, Mike Wallace again brought up the subject of that infamous "Black Panther" party, and Bernstein showed exasperation. I'd just as soon they left it alone; it demeans him.AlbertSM 20:54, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

Lives are messy and they are what they are. The fact that Bernstein's cultural significance as the defining icon of "radical chic" might be seen as "demeaning" does not justify its exclusion here, however much he is admired for his music. In fact, it is his musical brilliance that elevates him to such a position of cultural significance that peripheral aspects of his life are of broad interest. The fact that Bernstein, himself, may have hated -- and perhaps wished to erase -- this piece of his story is no reason for honest biography to cooperate. (talk) 17:46, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Bernstein and the Black Panthers[edit]

ASME's Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years (October 17, 2005) lists one cover that hits Bernstein's involvement --and particularly its social significance-- right on the head (see #35). I think it should have some inclusion beyond a link at the very bottom. --Bobak (talk) 19:26, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

The whole section is too long, and should be edited down to a couple of sentences and put in some sort of perspective. Right now it just sounds like an advertisement for Tom Wolfe and his book, in my opinion, and has little connection or relevance to the rest of the article. Softlavender (talk) 08:15, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Although it may seem to have unfairly become characteristic of Bernstein's political influence and activism, the essay "Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's" is inexorably linked to him and should not be omitted from a thorough discussion of his life. I have reintroduced a single paragraph detailing the episode, with citations, in the "1970-79" section. The Carnegie Hall history[1] and also this from the Library of Congress[2] show two unimpeachable sources which consider it to be an important, if not necessarily happy, part of his life. The added information is historically accurate and is not meant to either promote Tom Wolfe or demean Leonard Bernstein. Sswonk (talk) 02:50, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Conductors he influenced?[edit]

I am not sure that the latest addition to the article is really useful. He has undoubtedly influenced many conductors, great and small. Is it helpful to note only three of them at the expense of all the others? --Wspencer11 (talk to me...) 02:09, 26 February 2007 (UTC)


Just a note to say that I have taken the musical artist's infobox away and these are no longer being used for composers. Regards. --Kleinzach 14:25, 6 May 2007 (UTC)


Wikipedia Gay Lobby has a long, detailed entry about sexual orientation. You would think that such innuendo is of major importance. Of course, it is important to those immature, juvenile, adolescent people who think that such behavior is praiseworthy in an adult. Even if Bernstein had passed through the immature phase of homosexuality, he eventually matured into a life of being husband and father to several decent children. It would be praiseworthy if those children would sue for defamation. Lestrade 16:32, 25 October 2007 (UTC)Lestrade

You've got the chronology wrong. First he was a husband and family father, then he enventually matured to living openly gay from the 70s onward to his very end. AFAIK his children never had problems with that. But you got a point: the article should really mainly focus on LB the musician, as that is what he is remembered for. --FordPrefect42 22:01, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I have no problem with Bernstein's actual and verifiable sexual orientation, whether straight, bi, or gay; however for the record I remember when the tell-all unauthorized biography came out, Bernstein (or the press) said his children wouldn't let him read it because of the gay allegations, and the implication was that they were trumped-up falsehoods. That's what was reported in the press (NY Times, if I recall correctly) at that time, in any case. For what it's worth. I'm assuming that in the 2000s, whatever his real sexual orientation was can be more openly discussed, however — as long as it is verifiable. Softlavender (talk) 13:13, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Award Section Incorrect[edit]

Actually, Bernstein did not win a Tony Award for Best Musical. West Side Story lost the Tony Award that year to The Music Man. Shame. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:24, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

West Side Story[edit]

Bizarre that the entry doesn't talk about West Side Story except in passing. It might not be "serious" music, but I suggest it's what Bernstein will be remembered for. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Not only is the mention of West Side Story only a passing reference, there is no substantial section on Bernstein as a composer. I think he would have been horrified. He took his sabbatical from the New York Philharmonic to return to composition, and his contributions to the American symphony are substantial and varied (in the three symphonies). West Side Story and Candide are crucial to the history of musical theater, and the article doesn't even mention his substantial contribution to film scores (i.e. On the Waterfront). Further, the article should say something about the difficult of bridging these fields - as in taking the helm of the New York Philharmonic after his stint on Broadway with West Side Story. Musicsignifica (talk) 13:11, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Those of you who feel strongly thus should be the ones adding to the article to that effect. Softlavender (talk) 00:28, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

50th Birthday Disaster[edit]

Bernstein will certainly qualify for a special category: celebrities who experienced a horrible fiftieth birthday. To introduce this topic one might mention two predecessors:

1. Charlie Chaplin was the first modern celebrity to groom his mustache in such a way that his face resembled an automobile. This and many other factors resulted in the historic fact that at one time Chaplin was arguably the most famous man in the world. But by the time of his fiftieth birthday, April 16, 1939, another man with a face like an automobile, the famous and beloved A. Hitler, was having an even more famous 50th birthday than Chaplin's. Whether this stung Chaplin or not is an interesting speculation, but he responded with one of the most famous of his works, the feature film "The Great Dictator". (To see a car which seems to have designed with Hitler's face in mind, try driving on the Autobahn with an old fashioned VW beetle ahead of you-- two little windows for eyes, the round VW emblem for nose, and the two-line postage-stamp license plate for guess what. But I digress.)

2. Benjamin Britten conceivably had the most gruesome fiftieth birthday of all-- November 22, 1963. Maybe worth looking up any accounts of how he and his friends responded when the news began arriving-- around 1800 hours GMT? Not to ignore the fact that Britten, like his friend Dmitri D. Shostakovitch, loved Mussorgsky and Mahler and was obsessed with death. (Even in the St. Nicholas cantata boys are turned into pickles. Not to mention Peter Grimes and Death in Venice...)

In l968 Bernstein entered politics to an unprecedented degree, conducted the Adagietto in memory of Robert F. Kennedy, and supported a Presidential candidate, Eugene McCarthy. It would be interesting to know of any key quotes or accounts of Bernstein's personal reactions to events in August 1968. I have seen a fifty-page booklet which was printed up for his 50th birthday. Interestingly it shows him several times with a cigaret in hand, even in the presence of small children (I'm sure today he'd act differently; it's emblematic of the era involved). See article for ideas about his eventual fate -- emphysema.Tokerdesigner (talk) 00:19, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

"Mass" all caps or not?[edit]

Minor point, but should his Mass be listed as MASS? The Wiki article on it has it in all caps, as does the official literature on it (see External Links on that article's page). Softlavender (talk) 00:26, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Split Career Section[edit]

The Career section is too large. Could it be split into subsections? DavidRF (talk) 18:58, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, it was an interminable rambly mess. It's still a rambly mess, but I put date brackets in the appropriate places to break it up a little. Someone could probably put sub-subheadings in the longer sections of it, or on events that were truly noteworthy. Softlavender (talk) 08:13, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

What's up with this hidden, non-functioning "Media" section?[edit]

I removed it, since it was cloaked anyway, and doesn't work even when uncloaked. Here it is: Bernstein media. Do with it what you will. Softlavender (talk) 04:07, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Composer project review[edit]

I've reviewed this article as part of the Composers project review of its B-class articles. The article is clearly B-class, but is weak on content related to his composing. My full comments are on the comments page; questions and comments can be left here or on my talk page. Magic♪piano 17:29, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Agreed completely. A main section called "Compositions" should be added under the section called "Influence as a conductor," and this should contain rudimentary information about the various genres he composed in, plus mentions or descriptions of (some of) the major works in each, as well as a little bit about his development as a composer. If the section is simply started, I'm sure it can grow to include all the elements you have noted are needed. Since I myself am not well-versed on Bernstein's compositions, I'll let someone else do the honors of starting the section. Even if it's only a paragraph or two, that's better than nothing. Thanks in advance. Softlavender (talk) 09:12, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Beethoven's Symphony no. 7[edit]

I seem to recall that this was not only his last piece conducted, but also his first. Can anyone confirm? Whitereflection (talk) 08:32, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

It was, publicly anyways. it was mentioned in two documentaries. I'll try and order both articles and scan them. I will keep you posted. Arvindan T. (talk) 17:10, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

"Formidable Piano Technique?"[edit]

Was he actually considered to be that hot on the ivories? Had a habit of writing absolutely unplayable runs, and getting in a strop when more technically gifted pianists pointed out they were unplayable, then he would refuse to show them how it should be done(as he couldn't play them himself), and pass his lack of dexterity off as a hissy fit a la 'I am a musical genius surrounded by incompetents' mode. Any anecdotes from former orchestral players out there who recall the 'Act'?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:41, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

I've posted a [citation needed], although I'd prefer the claim actually be deleted. He wasn't exactly Barenboim; never performed; and so even if it is by chance true, it's very much a "So what?" (thousands of conductors and composers can play the piano well), and does NOT belong in the lead paragraph. Softlavender (talk) 19:09, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Ok, verified. Now: is it relevant? --Karljoos (talk) 18:05, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm not a pianist, but I can assure you, he did perform. Do your research before you make a claim like that. For the Beethoven Bicentennial in 1970, he played and conducted Beethoven's 1st Piano Concerto in Vienna, and this performance has been released on DVD on a program entitled "Bernstein on Beethoven: A Celebration in Vienna". He also performed and conducted the "Rhapsody in Blue" for the U.S. Bicentennial.AlbertSM (talk) 18:53, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

Formidable is a bit subjective, I think. I'd say Bernstein's technique was good, but he was no super-virtuoso like Horowitz. Now, even though it is sourced, it is very unencyclopedic and I think it should be removed. --Karljoos (talk) 15:59, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Why is the Table of Contents not showing up on this Talk page?[edit]

There's no Table of Contents showing up on the top of this Talk page. Can someone fix this bug? Thanks. Softlavender (talk) 17:05, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Fundraiser event given unreasonable prominence[edit]

As the last sentence in the section says, "Bernstein was reportedly exasperated by the interest in this event." This event is written as an anecdote of a single event and is given unjustified prominence with a major (inflated) head and subhead. If any facts from this single event are used, they should be inserted into a section already mentioning some related "personal life" facts. As it was, the section surrounded by his professional life's details, looked somewhat ridiculous.

==Sociopolitical involvement==
===Black Panther fundraiser===

In Tom Wolfe's book Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, the first piece is set in Bernstein's duplex on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Bernstein assembled many of his wealthy socialite friends to meet with representatives of the controversial Black Panthers and discuss ways to help their cause.[1] The party was a typical affair for Bernstein, a longtime Democrat, who was known for hosting civil rights leaders at such parties.[2]

The Bernsteins could not be seen with their usual black butler and maid, so they hired white South Americans to serve the party.[3] Bernstein's elite friends and guests (including Oscar-nominated director Otto Preminger and television reporter Barbara Walters) are labeled the "radical chic", as Wolfe characterizes them as pursuing radical ends for social reasons, partially because organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People had become too mainstream.[4] Wolfe's criticism is implicitly of the general phenomenon of white guilt and armchair agitation becoming facets of high fashion.[5]

New York magazine featured the incident, in an issue subsequently deemed by the ASME's one of the "Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years."[6] In a 60 Minutes interview with Mike Wallace, Bernstein was reportedly exasperated by the interest in this event.

(unsigned comment above by User:Wikiwatcher1)

I have to agree -- the whole section was silly and irrelevant and overly prominent. I'm personally glad it's gone. Softlavender (talk) 13:02, 4 August 2009 (UTC)


This article should include LB's political views. He had an extensive file in the FBI, i believe.Lerdna (talk) 23:50, 4 September 2009 (UTC)LerdnaLerdna (talk) 23:50, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

I believe there's a new book coming out about his politics, actually. Here is some discussion by the author, although, of course, it would be better to reference the book itself. A small section about his politics might be a good idea, anyway. His interaction with the blacklist and Hoover seem worth at least some mention. --Aquillion (talk) 10:45, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Legendary Pianist[edit]

I removed the "Legendary" attribute given towards Glenn Gould. He is a legendary Pianist in my opinion I just thought it was too subjective for Wikipedia, and secondly... rather pointless to mention. Gould is not a legend, yet anyways. Arvindan T. (talk) 17:13, 21 February 2011 (UTC)


He had a gift for rehearsing an entire Mahler symphony by acting out every phrase for the orchestra to convey the precise meaning and by emitting a vocal manifestation of the effect required.

Bernstein had a notably exuberant conducting style. He strayed far from classic conducting techniques, using his whole body to coax the best out of his orchestra, and had evident fun doing so. "Leonard Bernstein" is famously one of the only lines of the verses of R.E.M.'s single It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) which can easily be heard''

These lines have absolutely nothing to do with influence, nor are they sourced. 2 are simply describing a habit in his conducting style and state nothing further. The other is a pop culture reference to one lyric, I would not consider that influence but a Pop culture reference". Either way, I am removing the references. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dondoolee (talkcontribs) 07:32, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Some changes[edit]

I've added as some people requested a section on him as a composer and tried to make the conductor section similar to this covering both his characteristic style and influence, giving perspective on his achievements while remaining neutral. I agree with the action of Dondoolee in deleting the above text about his conducting style which was too subjective, but I think it is important to include something objective about this as it was a major thing that people remember him for. I tidied up the introduction (taking into account some comments above), corrected many minor factual errors, bits of poor English and added many other key things to the Early Life, 1940s and 1950s sections. There seemed to me to be many key things missing like his meeting Copland, Mitropoulos, Blitzstein and his leading the New York City Symphony in the 40s. I have tried to bring out the importance of West Side Story more. I deleted a section called "Early Career" as it seemed redundant given that there are sections for each decade. So I moved the items from it to the relevant decade sections later on. Perhaps I haven't added enough citations which I am working on.

The remaining sections 1960s, 1970s and 80s seem to me that they could do with an overhaul as well. The 1960s section is dominated by the lengthy speech he made before the performance with Glenn Gould, which I think shouldn't be reproduced in full here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:21, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

Following the above, I've now edited the 1960s, 70s and 80s sections. I added some more key events and corrected some minor factual and English errors. I have added at least one paragraph indentifying a few of Bernstein key compositions in each decade. I cut the full speech about about Gould and just left parts of it to give the flavour. I think it is worth keeping a mention of the incident because it ties in with the critisism of Bernstein from Harold Schonberg.

I edited some of the lengthy descriptions of the transmission history and availability of some of Bernstein's TV programmes. I don't think this would necessarily mean much to people in different countries. I think it is probably good enough these days to just state things are on DVD without too much detail.

Some references still need to be added.

There are obviously a lot of anecdotes, events, performances, recordings and incidents that could be added. But I think at the moment there is a good mixture of different things and that to lengthen the article with too much further minute detail would be a bad thing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:55, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Twelve-tone elements: actually many (or most) of his compositions contain twelve-tone elements[edit]

"His music was rooted in tonality but in some works like his Kaddish Symphony and the opera A Quiet Place he mixed in 12-tone elements."
We might add (from the top of my head) Halil, West Side Story (!) ("Cool" Fugue), Meditations for Cello and Orchestra, Songfest (The Penny-Candy Store, Music I Heard With You, What Lips My Lips have Kissed), Trouble in Tahiti (Beginning, and a six-note motif at the end that is completed in A Quiet Place with the missing six notes to form a twelve-tone-row)), Symphony No. 2 "The Age of Anxiety" (particularly "the Dirge"), Arias and Barcarolles... Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if you could find rows and related techniques in most of his compositions – I think it should at least be changed to "many", or even "most"... -- megA (talk) 12:30, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Probably best to find sources that state these works have them. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 13:45, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
The only thing I have here right now are liner notes from CD recordings:
Halil: "It is a kind of night-music which, from its opening 12-tone row to its ambiguously diatonic final cadence..." (L. B., quoted in liner notes)
Divertimento: [The] "Sphinxes" [movement] consists of a five-bar ascending twelve-tone melody based on the fanfare theme"... - "Blues", (...) the B-C motiv again creating a twelve-tone melody...
Symphony No. 2: "The Dirge" (...) This section employs, in a harmonic way, a twelve-tone row out of which the main them evolves... (quoted from 1949 original BSO program notes by L. B.)
Songfest: "The Pennycandystore beyond the El": "...this is a hushed, jazzy scherzo employing strict 12-tone technique." - "Music I heard with you" "The unusual factor here is that both diatonic and 12-tone sections coexist and interlock" (Liner notes by Jack Gottlieb), all liner notes from Deutsche Grammophon recordings.
No mention in the liner notes of 12T-techniques in "What lips my lips have kissed" and "Meditations", however, and I have no material here about "Trouble in Tahiti" and "West Side Story"... I don't know how to quantify "some", "many", or "most", and we surely don't need to list every single twelve-tone containing work, but the frequency with which L. B. uses twelve-tone rows and techniques and their distribution across his career is interesting and definitely more than the two works mentioned... -- megA (talk) 18:58, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, liner notes are fine to use to as sources. But there's no need to list every piece he used it in unless one IS listing every piece. Saying 'some' and giving a pair of examples is just fine. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 19:57, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
I'd advocate changing it to "many". (and maybe adding a footnote with some more examples, so they won't clutter the text.) The ones I listed are just those I had access to right now. In fact, personally I've always had the impression that twelve-tone elements were not ony something he used as sporadically as it looks right now, but rather something defining and permeating his eclectic musical style. -- megA (talk) 13:48, 11 April 2011 (UTC)


"Most biographies of Bernstein describe that his lifestyle became more excessive and his personal behaviour sometimes cruder after her death"

---which biographies? ---excessive? What does that mean? ---crude? That really needs explaining, or otherwise delete it. It's certainly not objective, possibly bigoted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:22, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Well as an example see Burton's biography p 458 "During the fall of 1980 Bernstein gave disturbing signals that he was struggling with a compulsion to step outside the bounds of conventional good behaviour. Without Felicia to keep him in check he seemed to no longer care what he said or whom he shocked." This is followed by some examples of the various remarks he made in public which fit the word "cruder". And on p 472 quoting daughter Jamie "[by the mid 80s] he was getting much harder to be around: he was doing much more scotch and relying on his Dexedrine..........he would have a personality change... he would get vituperative and irritable and snap at people and say awful things...." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:32, 21 April 2011 (UTC)


This article could really use an infobox. OlYeller21Talktome 15:25, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Value of Other Compositions[edit]

"but the tremendous success of West Side Story remained unequaled by his other compositions." I myself love West Side Story to death of course, but I personally do not think that "unequalled" is the right term here. It is simply his most commercially successful work, due to various sources other than just the classical concert hall. I would assume the more convincing way to put this is "but the success of West Side Story remains his most popular work to the widest of international audiences" Similarly with Ravel's Bolero, which is by far his most "well-known" piece yet probably the least valued, foremost by the composer himself. Opinions? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:07, 18 April 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps it would be simpler to just add the word "popular" before "success"? However that entire sentence could do with a rewrite - the word "prolific" suggests he wrote a vast amount of music rather than in many styles, and there are too many "ands" and "others" in list.

Lonely Town[edit]

Why does the song "Lonely Town" redirect to this page? A check for the term reveals that there is no reference to the song at all on this page. A much better redirect should be to the 'On the Town (musical)' page (which Bernstein wrote with Betty Comden and Adolph Green). There are THREE references to the song on that page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:37, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

'Listen' button = Bud-stein/Bum-stein[edit]

There's a listen button next to Bernstein's name. The pronunciation seems to have a /d/ in the middle of 'Bernstein'. Is this right? TehGrauniad (talk) 17:30, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Leonard Bernstein/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Last edited at 17:27, 18 December 2008 (UTC).

Substituted at 21:53, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ "Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers". Retrieved 2007-07-22. 
  2. ^ Donal Henahan (1990-10-15). "Leonard Bernstein, 72, Music's Monarch, Dies". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ Lasch-Quinn, Elisabeth (1999). "How to Behave Sensitively: Prescriptions for Interracial Conduct from the 1960s to the 1990s". Journal of Social History. 33 (2): 409. doi:10.1353/jsh.1999.0064. 
  4. ^ Timothy Foote (1970-12-21). "Fish in the Brandy Snifter". Time. 
  5. ^ "Cry Wolfe; The Purple Decades by Tom Wolfe.". Financial Times. 1983-04-09. 
  6. ^ Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years – ASME (#35)