This recording follows on a successful reading by the same forces of Bernstein's Symphony No. 3 ("Kaddish") of 1963. You can see why they started with the later work first, although the 1965 revision of the Symphony No. 2 ("The Age of Anxiety") actually postdates the earlier-numbered work. All three works share a common theme, namely the crisis of faith, but the oratorio-like "Kaddish" Symphony has a dramatic quality that makes its concerns explicitly.
It is all too easy to take Gustav Mahler's symphonies and orchestral songs for granted in the 21st century's first decade. More than ever before, concert performances and recordings of these works abound, and at a level of proficiency that reveals the remarkable extent to which musicians worldwide have assimilated the composer's idiom. Given the music's primacy in today's central orchestral repertoire, we forget how the great Mahler advocates of the past had to champion his music in the face of adversity. "Who can bear those monstrous symphonies, those over-blown, out-of-date horrors," asked one leading music critic when the New York Philharmonic launched a Mahler Festival to celebrate the composer's 1960 centenary.
Les Noces is a screaming, shrieking, flat-out masterpiece. Leonard Bernstein himself has referred to it as Stravinsky's greatest work, and listening to this incendiary performance, it's awfully hard to disagree. Scored for voices, four pianos, and percussion, the work provided the inspiration for the entire career of Orff (of Carmina Burana fame), but it's so much better as sheer music than anything Orff wrote. And what a cast! The pianists for this performance include Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman, Cyprien Katsaris, and Homero Francesch, four certified virtuoso performers, while the singers of the English Bach Festival Chorus really cover themselves with glory in both works. A stunner.
Years in the making! Elmer Bernstein fans place such high esteem on epic 1959 score that composer starts club in 1974, makes highlights from The Miracle the first of his own music to re-record. 26 minutes make it to second LP on his private label, but incredible wealth of powerhouse music including massive choral segments, battle music, entire Spanish elements of score remain unrecorded… until now! Over 90 minutes of actual soundtrack music spread over 2 CDs! Large-scale picture from Warner Bros. directed by Irving Rapper, starring Carroll Baker, Roger Moore is set during vibrant era of Napoleonic Wars in 1812. Religious story sees young postulant leaving convent to pursue love, adventure. As Teresa embarks on worldly adventures, statue of Virgin Mary assumes her place until she returns. Tale of faith, love, war and tragedy all inspire Bernstein to create lengthy, ambitious score in vein of legendary Ten Commandments score for Cecil B. DeMille. Massive chords launch work from outset, spotlighting great power of Church, faith.