May DVD of the Month: Bernstein’s Influence

I remember the 1950’s, when Leonard Bernstein was one of the major musicians on the music scene. He had burst into the public view when the conductor of the New York Philharmonic, Bruno Walter, became ill. And the rest — as they say — is history.

Now there is a new DVD that takes us back to these times, and more.

The title of this film is “Leonard Bernstein, larger than life”.


This fascinating documentary shows why Bernstein was one of the most influential classical musicians of the last century. He was an inspirational teacher, a brilliant conductor, a fine composer, and an accomplished pianist. In his role as an educator, he found and fascinated an even larger audience of young listeners on television shows such as Omnibus and Young People’s Concerts.

As a composer (West Side Story, On the Town etc.) he could bridge gaps and break down barriers in an extraordinarily skilful and yet accessible manner, reaching a large audience worldwide, way beyond classical music.

The film includes interviews with Leonard Bernstein’s children, Jamie, Alexander and Nina Bernstein, Gustavo Dudamel, Stephen Sondheim, Kent Nagano, Marin Alsop, Sir Peter Jonas, Christoph Eschenbach, Norman Lebrecht, members of the Vienna Philharmonics, Craig Urquhart, and many others.

Here is Leonard Bernstein, conducting the Symphony number 5 by Gustav Mahler:

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