Top positive review
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Well worth a read for both academic and light information
on 18 January 1999
Humphrey Burton engages in his subject well in this book, possibly the largest piece of literature chronicling the life of this genius of Twentieth Century music. The book does include a large amount of biographical information relating to the life of Bernstein, which is neccessary for any study into a musicians life. However, on the down side of this Burton does have a tendency to become very "chummy" with his subject, relating incidences from the past in which he and "Lenny" had a good laugh.
This aside, the book tackles a number of weighty issues, and although the author was given exclusive access to the Bernstein family archives he never takes a purely adulatory stance, but rather gives an accurate portrayal of the complex life of this complex man.
Bernstein, although priveleged, did not have an altogether happy existence. His marriage being secondary to his homosexuality, his addiction to alcohol and tobacco, and his strained relationship with his government during his middle age all combined to create some truly wonderful works of music that would out shine the memory of those bad times for years to come.
Bernstein's search for acolade as a "serious" composer and musician shall surely be aided by the publication of this book.