Dedicated to Helen Coates, his selfless, personal assistant for fifteen years, this is typical Bernstein and the picture of the ecstatic Lennie on the front sums it up very well.
Filled with musical score illustrations of the text he begins with an introduction trying to explore what makes intelligent musical talk and dialogue before exploring in Part One: Imaginary Conversations, that very subject around Beethoven, American Symphonies and Gershwin. In Part Two: Seven Omnibus Television Transcripts, there are exactly what it said on the tin, seven transcripts of his programmes produced and directed by Humphrey Burton, Lennie at his best before an audience discussing music: Beethoven, Jazz, Conducting, Musical Comedy, MOdern Music, JS Bach and What Makes Opera Grand.
For those interested in music (of all sorts) and Bernstein this is an ideal book; at three hundred pages, it explores some difficult issues in music and shows how to talk about them. Articulate, enthusiastic, interesting, informative and detailed, the final transcripts are fascinating. If there were a DVD of the programmes tucked in a sleeve at the back, it would be perfect.