This version of 'Jeremiah' Symphony (No.1 1942) has an urgency and power unlike any other including Bernstein's three excellent recordings. It is the fastest I know (I have five other CD versions including the three by Bernstein). It is a wonderfully moving performance of one of my favourite symphonies and, in my opinion, Bernstein's greatest score. The recording is the best I know and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the redoubtable Marin Alsop play their hearts out. Despite the urgency of the performance the section in the last movement where the Mezzo-soprano (the excellent Jennifer Johnson Cano) slows down during Jeremiah's lamentation is heartbreakingly beautiful and sets it apart from every other version known to me - a deeply moving experience. I am less familiar with Symphony 2 'The Age of Anxiety' (1949/1965) but the performance sounds excellent to me. A great CD with helpful notes and the full text in Hebrew and English of Jeremiah. Don't hesitate!
I think the attention this new disc gets in many review sites as being very good in performance and interpretation is correct. This is ‘cool’ Bernstein, played with the best mix of heaviness and swing you can get. The 2nd symphony, or piano concerto, is a delight although I really can’t make much of the philosophical side of the individual tracks and background. You can enjoy this work without that ‘hidden’ program too. I’ve one little complaint and that’s the use of vibrato by Jennifer Johnson Cano. You either love it or hate it; I don’t like so much use of vibrato. Isn’t it possible to sing this beautiful ‘aria’ without, or is it the only way to project the emotion of the piece?