Bernstein, the Teacher!

“Omnibus: Leonard Bernstein”

This is a four-disc DVD set containing seven films which were seen between 1954 and 1958. They feature Mr. Bernstein’s lecture/performances about classical and other forms of music.

Bernstein was equally comfortable with classical music and musical theater. He wrote the scores for “West Side Story” and “On the Town”; he also wrote several symphonies, “Mass” on the death of J. F. Kennedy, as well as music for violin, Flute, and orchestra. And… he was the longtime conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

His “Omnibus” TV show debut was “Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony” (broadcast live on CBS, November 14, 1954). Other shows included “The World of Jazz,” “American Musical Comedy,” “Introduction to Modern Music,” “The Music of J.S. Bach,” “The Art of Conducting,” and “What Makes Opera Grand?”

 Episodes on this DVD are divided as follows:

Disc 1: “Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony” (33 minutes) and “The World of Jazz” (45 minutes)

Disc 2: “The Art of Conducting” (48 minutes) and “American Musical Comedy” (76 minutes)

Disc 3: “Introduction to Modern Music” (49 minutes) and “The Music of J.S. Bach” (64 minutes)

Disc 4: “What Makes Opera Grand?” (76 minutes) and *Bonus* “Handel: Messiah” (58 minutes)

What makes these shows about Leonard Bernstein, the teacher, so interesting are several aspects:

  1. Bernstein’s Passion for music
  2. His amazing capability as a teacher
  3. His talent to talk with kids without talking “down” to them
  4. Bernstein’s obvious major expertise in the subject matter.

Here, from a different source, is the young Bernstein rehearsing the final movement of Brahms Symphony No. 1:

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