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Description - Leonard Bernstein by Paul Myers

This is an illustrated biography of the American conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein. Despite international fame and success, he was a man constantly struggling with inner conflicts. The best loved and most successful conductor of his generation, also a virtuoso pianist, he was adored by an international public, but suffered years of hostile criticism from the New York press. An inspiration to fellow American musicians, he was the first native American to direct a major American orchestra, and the first to conquer Europe (conducting the Vienna Philharmonic and at La Scala, Milan). His conducting style was famously flamboyant, yet he possessed a rare ability to communicate his music to the listener, who was often held spellbound. But Bernstein often dismissed conducting for its "temporary" character, and declared himself to be primarily a composer. Among other musicals, Bernstein wrote the world-famous "West Side Story" (1957), and the moving score to the film "On the Waterfront", but he never enjoyed unanimous critical acclaim for his "serious" classical works, such as "Chichester Psalms" and "Mass". In later years he feared that he would be remembered solely for his musicals. His private life was equally ambivalent. He regularly occupied the psychiatrist's couch, frequently switching from one "shrink" to the next; he was a bisexual who adored his wife and children but engaged almost constantly in homosexual liaisons. Brilliant, articulate, witty, charming and generous, he could equally be vain, egocentric, arrogant and demanding, sometimes distressing his most loyal supporters, especially in his later years, with drunken outbursts and wilful behaviour. In spite of these paradoxes, Bernstein is still one of the most important musical figures of the second half of the 20th century, and a major influence on musical life in Europe and America. This book chronicles his extraordinary rise to fame, and presents an account - from first-hand experience - of Bernstein's triumphs and his disappointments. This text is part of the 20th-century composers series, examining composers in a biographical context, and offering a comprehensive study of key figures in the creation of 20th-century music. None of the books in the series presume a knowledge of specialized terms or musical notation. Each book in the series features a list of works, a bibliography, and a discography.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780714837017
ISBN-10: 0714837016
Format: Paperback
(220mm x 156mm x 20mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Phaidon Press Ltd
Publisher: Phaidon Press Ltd
Publish Date: 26-Mar-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Paul Myers

Paul Myers is a freelance classical record producer whose work for Decca and Colombia (now Sony) and Naxos brought him into contact with Bernstein over many years.

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