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Bernstein: Chichester Psalms/Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 (DG The Originals) CD

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Bernstein: Chichester Psalms/Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 (DG The Originals) + Haydn: Missa Cellensis In Honorem/ Cacilienmesse
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Product details

  • Composer: Leonard Bernstein
  • Audio CD (15 Nov 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000031WYI
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,290 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Bernstein: Chichester Psalms (1965) - 1. Psalm 108,2 / Psalm 100Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 3:44£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Bernstein: Chichester Psalms (1965) - 2. Psalm 23 / Psalm 2,1-4Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 5:38£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Bernstein: Chichester Psalms (1965) - 3. Psalm 131 / Psalm 133,1Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 9:46£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Bernstein: Symphony No.1 "Jeremiah" - 1. Prophecy: LargamenteIsrael Philharmonic Orchestra 7:23£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Bernstein: Symphony No.1 "Jeremiah" - 2. Profanation: Vivace con brioIsrael Philharmonic Orchestra 6:53£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Bernstein: Symphony No.1 "Jeremiah" - 3. Lamentation: LentoIsrael Philharmonic Orchestra10:25£1.49  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Bernstein: Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 1 - 1. The Prologue. Lento moderatoLukas Foss 2:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Bernstein: Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 1 - 2. The Seven Ages. Var. I-VIILukas Foss 8:16£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Bernstein: Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 1 - 3. The Seven Stages. Var. VIII-XIVLukas Foss 6:05£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Bernstein: Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 2 - 1. The Dirge. LargoLukas Foss 6:00£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Bernstein: Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 2 - 2. The Masque. Extremely fastLukas Foss 4:39£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Bernstein: Symphony No.2 "The Age Of Anxiety" / Part 2 - 3. The Epilogue. L'istesso tempo - Adagio - Andante - Con motoLukas Foss 8:09£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I cannot recommend this music and this recording highly enough - it goes straight to my list of possibles for a desert island disc.

Though I have always loved Bernstein as a conductor, I have never really warmed to his Broadway musical persona as a composer - as exemplified, for example, in West Side Story. (This is not, by the way, musical snobbery: I enjoy all kinds of music, musicals included, but I just don't really relish the rather brash "New York" style of West Side Story - my loss, no doubt.) However, on the basis of this disc, Bernstein's more "serious" music, which I am now approaching for the first time, is a different matter.

These two mid-twentieth-century symphonies manage to be both approachable and enjoyable as well as profound, spiritual and "meaningful" (or whatever other adjective you might choose to use). They can be appreciated on different levels: both objectively, as the technically assured works or a major twentieth-century composer, and more subjectively, in terms of their emotional "content" or "meaning".

The performances and recording are exemplary, and as far as the two symphonies are concerned, at least, seem to me preferable to Bernstein's own earlier CBS/Sony recordings, not only in terms of sound (hardly surprising) but also for the contribution of the orchestra (the Israel Philharmonic must have these works in their bones and puts the NYPO to shame in terms of the intonation of the woodwind). And then there is the resplendent contribution of Christa Ludwig, surely one of the finest voices of the twentieth century, in the final movement of the Jeremiah Symphony: dramatic (without being histrionic) and meltingly beautiful.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Nicholas V. Edwards on 11 Feb 2009
Format: Audio CD
I love this recording of the Chichester Pslams. Great to hear them played the way the composer wants them to be played. I think it is a live recording as well so really captures the atmosphere of the piece.
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By Maggie H. on 23 Aug 2014
Format: Audio CD
Am singing these with my choir and will listen to this over and over again to learn and absorb.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Great music, Greatest CD 31 Mar 2006
By MusicMan - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I first heard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1 “Jeremiah” played in Seattle in 2005. It was an unforgettable experience. At times this music has such power that is sends Goosebumps down your arms and legs. Then there are times when the music become almost transcendental is its lyricism. The three movements are 1. Prophecy: the prophet speaks his solemn message, 2. Profanation: he is mocked by the people, and 3. Lamentation: a lament for the fallen city. The firs movement starts with a horn call which states the thematic material. From there the movement build to a earth shaking climax before fading until only the low strings remain holding a long foreboding note. The second movement is the scherzo. If this movement doesn’t make you want to move nothing will. Pulsing almost jazz like motor rhythms propel this movement to an explosive finish. Bernstein was always a great orchestrater. (At the end of the second movement he even asks the timpanist to strike the drum with a maraca!) The beautiful last move is a lamentation that uses a mezzo-soprano. The Hebrew text is from the Book of Lamentations, Chapter 1, verses 1-4; Chapter 4, verses 14-15; and Chapter 5, verses 20-21. Here is the English text:

How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she

become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and

princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!

She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks:

among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends

have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.

Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because

of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no

rest: all her prosecutors overtook her between the straits.

Jerusalem hath grievously sinned . . .

They have wandered as blind men in the streets, they have

polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their

garments. They cried unto them, Depart ye; it is unclean; depart,

depart, touch not . . .

Wherefore doest thou forget us fore ever, and forsake us so

long time? Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord . . .

Although no CD can replicate the experience of hearing this piece live, this is the best recording available of Berstins first two symphonies. There is no excuse for not owning this CD.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Bernstein's Classic Interpretations of his Chichester Psalms and Symphonies 2 Jun 2012
By Phil in Magnolia - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Leonard Bernstein's association with the Israel Philharmonic began early in his career as a conductor and composer, and in 1977 the orchestra organized a Bernstein Festival to mark the 30th anniversary of their first concert together. The festival lasted two weeks and consisted solely of works composed by Bernstein. Later that same year, in August of 1977, they appeared together at the Berlin Festival, which is when (and where) these live performances were recorded.

The Chichester Psalms were unfamiliar to me until I acquired this disk. They were originally commissioned for the 1965 Chichester Cathedral's annual festival. The texts are in Hebrew and include extracts from six different psalms. Bernstein himself called them "perhaps the most tonal score I've ever written". They are written for mixed choir, boy soloist and orchestra. The world premiere performance took place on July 15, 1965 in the Philharmonic Hall, New York and with Bernstein conducting, two weeks before the actual performance in the Chichester Festival. The performance on this CD is the full orchestral version with the Vienna Boys' Choir performing superbly. Listening to them for the first time I am captivated by the beauty of the performance.

His Symphony No. 1, "Jeremiah", originally premiered in 1944 and won the New York Music Critics Circle annual award (this was the year immediately following his stunning triumph of November, 1943 when he was called upon at short notice to fill in for Bruno Walter and led the New York Philharmonic to great acclaim). Symphony No. 2, "The Age of Anxiety", was written just a few years later, during the period 1947-49, and is an orchestral work that represents the composers interpretation of Auden's poem The Age of Anxiety. Lukas Foss is the piano soloist for the second symphony. The performances of both symphonies on this CD are excellent, particularly Christa Ludwig in the final movement of "Jeremiah".

Overall for the three compositions included on this CD, since Bernstein himself is conducting they may be considered by some as "definitive". I can't really speak to that but I do know that this disc has been at the top of various published lists of recommendations over the years, most recently being included in the latest edition of the Penguin Guide (The Penguin Guide to the 1000 Finest Classical Recordings: The Must-Have CDs and DVDs as the preferred CD for these works. Gramophone has also consistently included these performances in its annual "Good CD Guide" (see for example the 2005 edition), where this disc was referred to as "highly recommended"). True, Gramophone no longer lists this disc in its Classical Music Guide 2012. My comment to that is that it is not unusual for older recordings to fall off Gramophone's list, and that does not trouble me because if a recording has been worthy of their recommendation in a previous edition of their guide then I am not going to worry too much about more recent CD releases that are now also receiving high recommendation. Exploring the variety of selections and performances available for almost any composition is one of the great joys of classical music, in my opinion.

I will finally mention that over the years there have been a number of other CD releases from Deutsche Grammophon that contain these same performances. Of those currently available, Bernstein Conducts Bernstein is a 7 CD box set from Deutsche Grammophon which includes these same 1977 performances, along with many other Bernstein works such as West Side Story, Candide, and On the Waterfront. An earlier release, Bernstein Conducts Bernstein: Songfest / Chichester Psalms, also includes the same performance of the Chichester Psalms.

This is a "jewel box" CD, and the performances total almost 80 minutes, which is very generous. The booklet includes a short essay on Bernstein as well as the full text of the Chichester Psalms (in four languages including Hebrew).

All together I consider this to be a very worthwhile purchase, and very reasonably priced. In my view this is one that should not disappoint you if you want to explore these particular works.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Love the Chichester Psalms 25 Jun 2011
By expatinnica - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
My mom and I sang the Chichester Psalms together with a chorus several years back. She bought me CD as a gift last year, and with this CD I returned the favor. Just lovely!! If you like "modern classical" music you will love it!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"Taking It Up" 20 Feb 2012
By John K. Casey - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love the Chichester Psalms.

In one scene from Evelyn Waugh's classic novel "Brideshead Revisited," the principal character of the story, a young sophisticate who is at the time a struggling art student in Paris, agrees to take a visiting acquaintance, a brash arriviste, to his most treasured restaurant in the City of Lights, on the promise that the traveler would pay for the very costly meal. The place is unpretentious and the visitor has little appreciation for the culinary marvels being set before him. At the end of the meal, he takes out an immense cigar from his pocket, lights it, and as he fouls the room with smoke he looks about and then remarks, "You know, this place isn't half bad...someone really ought to take it up and do something with it."

I created a variation of this setting in my own mind whenever I played my CD of the "Chichester Psalms" as performed by Marin Alsop with the Bournemouth Symphony. Like the young student, I could tell that what was being set before my aural palate was wondrous. But like the cigar smoker, I felt that the music needed "taking up," that in the hands of a real master one might really have something astounding.

Then I bought this performance with the composer himself conducting, and I instantly got my wish. Bernstein takes Psalms and, without altering a note, elevates them from the commonplace to the magical, from the passable to the transcendental, a rich feast for the heart. Who better?

The Bernstein CD also contains his rendition of his first and second symphonies. I do not know these works, so I will offer no opinion. They could have filled the rest of the CD with a series of variations on the theme "Turkey in the Straw," for all I care. I bought the disc for the Psalms!
Lenny At His Best 20 April 2013
By J. Abel - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Three of the most underrated symphonic works of the 20th century on this disk. All the passion, the cathartic power, the melodic invention, the rhythmic drive of Lenny on a high roll to be found here, and a definitive performance to boot. His Hebrew bros in the holy land really deliver the goods.

No one, least of all a Jew, can listen to the last movement of the 1st without a box of kleenex.

Lenny did a heck of lot more than "West Side Story", he was, for my money, the greatest American composer of serious music that ever lived. It's a crime that these three warhorses are not standard rep.
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