Vol. 1 of Bernstein’s “Young People’s Concerts” Released

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YOUNG PEOPLE’S CONCERTS, Vol. 1 / 1. What Does Music Mean? excerpts by ROSSINI, J. STRAUSS, R. STRAUSS, BEETHOVEN, MUSSORGSKY, TCHAIKOVSKY, WEBERN, RAVEL. 2. What is American Music? excerpts by GERSHWIN, CHOPIN, LISZT, RAVEL, BRAHMS, TCHAIKOVSKY, CHADWICK, MacDOWELL, GILBERT, COPLAND, HANDY, SESSIONS, BEETHOVEN, GOULD, SCHUMAN, HARRIS, THOMSON & THOMPSON w/Aaron Copland, cond. 3. What Does Orchestration Mean? excerpts by RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, DEBUSSY, GERSHWIN, BACH, PROKOFIEV, HINDEMITH, MOZART, STRAVINSKY, WARD, BEETHOVEN, SCHUBERT, VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, SCHUMAN, GABRIELI, SOUSA, R. GOODMAN, SCHUBERT, RAVEL. 4. What Makes Symphonic Music? excerpts by MOZART, BEETHOVEN, TCHAIKOVSKY, ALFORD, BLACKWELL, GERSHWIN, BRAHMS. 5. What is Classical Music? excerpts by HANDEL, BEETHOVEN, McHUGH-FIELDS, RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, MOZART, BACH, HAYDN, CHOPIN, SCHUMANN. 6. Humor in Music. excerpts by PISTON, WHITE, GERSHWIN, KODÁLY, RAMEAU, GILBERT & SULLIVAN, HAYDN, PROKOFIEV, MAHLER, WAGNER, STRAUSS, MOZART, SHOSTAKOVICH, COPLAND, DUKAS, BRAHMS. 5. What is a Concerto? excerpts by VIVALDI, BACH, MOZART, MENDELSSOHN, BARTÓK. 8. Who is Gustav Mahler? music by MAHLER w/Reri Grist, sop; William Lewis, ten; Helen Raab, alto. 9. Folk Music in the Concert Hall. excerpts by MOZART, CHÁVEZ, BARTÓK, RAVEL, IVES, CANTELOUBE w/Marni Nixon, sop. 10. What is Impressionism? excerpts by BEETHOVEN, DEBUSSY, J. STRAUSS. Also DEBUSSY: La Mer. RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloe: Suite No. 2. 11. Happy Birthday, Igor Stravinsky. STRAVINSKY: Petrouchka. excerpts from Le Sacre du Printemps, Dumbarton Oaks, Agon. 12. What is a Melody? excerpts by MENDELSSOHN, BEETHOVEN, TCHAIKOVSKY, WEILL, FRANCK, MOZART, WAGNER, BACH, HINDEMITH, BRAHMS. 13. The Latin American Spirit. FERNÁNDEZ: Batuque. VILLA-LOBOS: Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5: Aria w/Natania Davrath, sop. REVUELTAS: Sensemayá. COPLAND: Danzón Cubano. BERNSTEIN: West Side Story: Symphonic Dances. 14. Jazz in the Concert Hall. SCHULLER: Journey Into Jazz w/Don Ellis, tp; Eric Dolphy, bs-cl/a-sax; Benny Golson, t-sax; Richard Davis, bs; Joe Cocuzzo, dm; Gunther Schuller, cond. COPLAND: Piano Concerto w/Aaron Copland, pno. L. AUSTIN: Improvisations for Orchestra & Jazz Soloists. 15. Young Performers No. 1. DVOŘÁK: Cello Concerto: 1st mvmt w/Daniel Domb, cel; Kenneth Schermerhorn, cond. WIENIAWSKI: Violin Concerto No. 2: 3rd mvmt w/Barry Finclair, vln; Stefan Mengelberg, cond. PROKOFIEV: Peter and the Wolf w/Alexandra Wager, narr. 16. Young Performers No. 2. DVOŘÁK: Cello Concerto: 3rd mvmt w/Lynn Harrell, cel; Elyakum Shapira, cond. CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 1: 1st mvmt w/Jung Ja Kim, pno; Russell Stanger, cond. PUCCINI: La Bohème: Act 3 – Addio senza rancor w/Verinoca Tyler, sop; Gregory Millar, cond. BRITTEN: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra w/Henry Chapin, narr. 17. Young Performers No. 3. MOZART: Le Nozze di Figaro: Overture w/Seiji Ozawa, cond. BLOCH: Prayer. PAGANINI-REINSHAGEN: Moses in Egypt Fantasy w/Gary Karr, bs; Maurice Peress, John Canarina, cond. SAINT-SAËNS: Carnival of the Animals w/Ruth & Naomi Segal, pno; Paula Robison, fl; Paul Green, cl; Tony Cirone, xyl; David Hopper, glockenspiel; Karr, bs / New York Philharmonic Orch.; Leonard Bernstein, cond/narr / Unitel Edition 800208

Everyone who remembers Leonard Bernstein throughout his New York Philharmonic tenure and beyond—particularly beyond—will recall the positives as well as the negatives of his musical style and personal excesses. Among the bad were his over-italicized performances of much of the standard Romantic repertoire, particularly his bizarre phrasing in Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Wagner, but also sometimes in Mahler, a composer he established in the U.S.A. as a major staple in the concert hall, and his growing addiction to alcohol and cocaine. Among the good were his surprisingly wonderful performances of J.S. Bach, Mozart, Haydn, much of Berlioz and American music and some of Shostakovich and Mahler, his untiring promotion of young musicians, his lifelong interest in jazz as a form that he believed could and should be combined with classical music, and of course his remarkable, long-lived series of Young People’s Concerts.

Despite Oscar Levant’s wisecrack that “Mr. Bernstein is revealing musical secrets that have only been known for a hundred years,” these concerts—televised, be it noted, on COMMERCIAL television and not on some snobby “arts” channel, and without ad breaks—were an absolute revelation to not only his studio audience of 9-to-15-year-olds, many of whom listened in fascination and a few of which looked bored, but also to those of us who tuned the programs in. The main reason for this was that Bernstein never talked down to his audience. He treated these children as if they were adults, but adults who up to this point had had little or no exposure to the music he was presenting to them. This is a far cry from what you see and hear everywhere today, where not only young teens but adults into their 30s are, conversely, treated like idiot children who need to be talked down to.

And it worked. Not for everyone, no, but for about 40-50% of those who attended in person or watched on TV, it was the beginning of their understanding of what made classical music tick, which led to an interest ranging from casual listeners to rabid fans. A look at the composers selected for his programs will give you a clue why. He juxtaposed composers from all periods of music, did not shy away from more modern and even living composers, and did his level best to explain the more difficult music they were hearing in terms that all could understand, even if the music itself was sometimes rather beyond the fringe of their experience with advanced tonality. The main thing is that Bernstein himself enjoyed all of this music and conveyed this enthusiasm to his young audience not like some stuffy teacher in a conservatory but like a friend who dropped over to your house and just happened to have a 100-piece symphony orchestra in tow.

Originally, the programs were broadcast on Saturday mornings, but for three years they were presented on Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Then they moved to Sundays at 2 p.m., which is when I started watching them. An indicator of just how good he was at communicating the essence of music while holding older kids’ attentions was the fate of the program once he left the Philharmonic. Michael Tilson Thomas, an outstanding young conductor himself, took over the programs but flopped as badly as a beached swordfish gasping for its life. He was just a bit too stiff, a bit too formal in his descriptions of the music, and the program was quietly canceled.

Young People's Concerts

Bernstein’s young audience entering Carnegie Hall for the very first concert on January 18, 1958

This first volume includes his Young People’s Concerts from January 18, 1958—long before I started watching them (I just turned seven years old that year)—through March 11, 1964, and one will note that despite their popularity the number of televised concerts given each year decreased from four in 1958 to three in 1959 to two in 1960-62, then one per year after that. Part of this was due to Bernstein’s expanding schedule of concerts and part of it due to network considerations. Much as they viewed the programs as prestige items, CBS wasn’t making money on them and the viewership, though considerable for purely classical programming, didn’t come close to regular network shows. The informality of these live events is evident from the very first, where after the announcer’s opening comments we can hear Bernstein offstage saying, “Oh, there’s no time?” before coming out to mount the podium. Yet even from the beginning, Bernstein puts his personal stamp on his lectures by agreeing with Arturo Toscanini: “Music doesn’t mean anything. It’s just notes.” He purposely opens up with the fast section of Rossini’s William Tell Overture, which he knew that the youngsters in the audience would associated with The Lone Ranger, to explain that it’s only about itself. He then follows this with excerpts from a Chopin nocturne, Beethoven’s “Waldstein” sonata and Meade Lux Lewis’ Honky Tonk Train Blues to illustrate completely different styles of music, all interesting to listen to, that again has no “meaning.” “Of course, if there is a story connected to the music, it’s good. It gives it extra meaning. But it’s not necessary.” He then describes this section of the Rossini overture as “a phrase going up” followed by “a phrase going down, something like an argument with the second person winning.” He then sings the opening phrase and asks the children to sing the second, then continues until they finish. “You see?” he says. “You win!” Of course, I’m not going to go into this much detailed description of all of his lectures, but it clearly illustrates how he managed to simplify music for his audience without cheapening it or, as I said before, talking down to them. He plays them excerpts from Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote but tells them the wrong story on purpose, just to see if they can detect if his story fits the music. And, by golly, silly as it is, it does! He even had the temerity to play an excerpt by Webern for the kids. You talk about having some guts.

In this first concert, as in many of the later ones, the camera pans the audience during some of the musical performances. There are several children much younger than 9 years old, and of course they look the most bored. They had shorter attention spans and weren’t quite ready for what they were hearing or what Bernstein was saying, but apparently their parents thought it would be good “culture” for them to attend, and I’m sure they bragged to their friends if their child appeared on the screen, bored-looking or not.

Ironically, Bernstein’s lifelong habit of dancing and jumping around on the podium, criticized severely in his day but nowadays encouraged of nearly every classical music performer, was part of what appealed most to the kids. They’d have been bored stiff watching someone like Mitropoulos or Toscanini, whose podium movements were minimal and economical. The image of an almost “human puppet” in front of the orchestra caught their attention and held it.

It’s also weird to see how the audience was dressed. Boys wore suits and ties. Girls wore their Sunday best dresses with well-coiffed hair, sometimes with gloves and/or hats. Children back then had respect for each other and for their elders. They wanted to look adult, and to look adult then meant to look elegant. They didn’t want to look like some street bums scrounging for change or going to a Hip-Hop concert.

In the very next concert, What is American Music, Bernstein immediately brings up jazz as the first authentic and original music that bound together Americans of various ethnic backgrounds. He then leads his young listeners from jazz influence to the style of music that emerged in the music during the 1940s that somehow sounded American without using jazz: as he put it, “youthful, brash, optimistic.” Interestingly, he only uses an early, jazz-influenced Aaron Copland piece in this lecture, whereas it was Copland’s transformation from modernist composer-with-jazz-influence to one using Western or “hillbilly” themes (such as the Appalachian fiddle tune Bonaparte’s Retreat that found its way into his score for Rodeo) that led to this new style. By merely alluding to some of the themes in Roy Harris’ Third Symphony as “rugged,” and not mentioning Appalachian Music at all—not even when discussing Copland’s Billy the Kid, one theme of which he merely calls “lonely”—Bernstein leaves out an important link that such earlier American composers like Chadwick and MacDowell ignored because this sort of music was considered low class and beneath them. A bonus surprise in this concert was Copland himself to conduct his Fanfare for the Common Man.

In What does Orchestration Mean?, Bernstein gives us the best argument in the world against all these musical clowns who rearrange sonatas for wind bands, string quartets for brass choirs and reducing symphonies for God only knows what combination of instruments (including, on one CD I saw, bagpipes!), one of today’s most common and irritating musical games played by a variety of groups.

Interestingly, the last TV concert of the 1957-58 season, What Makes Music Symphonic?, was not telecast due to technical difficulties, thus Bernstein repeated it on December 15, 1958. And it is here that he finally starts discussing musical development in terms that children could understand. Or could they? He states that the development in the last movement of Mozart’s “Jupiter” symphony grows out of the first four notes, and it does, but I would think that a child would have a hard time hearing the very complex music that follows those four notes as a development. It’s more like entirely different themes in which the opening four notes occasionally reappear, but in different pitches, just the same rhythm, and the rest of it is so complex that a youngster would be confused making the connection. After the movement is over, however, Bernstein explains it step by step, making comparisons to nature: flowers and fruit trees. It may still be a little confusing to the youngest of his audience, but I can see where the 12-15-year olds would “get it.” It also helped that he used the last movement of the Tchaikovsky Fourth Symphony, which is easier to follow, as a sequel to his explanation. He also uses excerpts from Sibelius, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony and even Elvis Presley’s All Shook Up. He then explains counterpoint, using rounds like Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Frère Jacques as examples. And, amazingly, he ends with one of the most complex of all Romantic symphony movements, the finale of Brahms’ Second. Only Bernstein could make these kinds of connections, and have at least a third of his young audience pick up on them. The other 2/3 were probably still humming All Shook Up or Frère Jacques—but at least they listened.

Bernstein expands his explanation of how and what makes music tick in What is Classical Music? (January 24, 1959), and here he also explains how different conductors interpret the same music using different tempi and stresses on the beats. He reduces the description of classical pieces as being “exact,” meaning that the notes, their orchestration, their length and what is written in the bars has to be nearly the same in every performance. He also explains that the term “classical” refers to a specific period of the music, namely the 18th century, but here he conflates the Baroque period, which included Bach, Handel and Rameau, with the Classical period which included Haydn, Mozart and Hummel. Umm, sorry, Lenny, you can’t combine them, even though the Classical style grew out of the Baroque. But what the heck, at least he kept the kids’ interest. But then he does explain how the music changed in formality from Bach and Handel to Haydn and Mozart.

Humor in Music is sort of a mixed bag. The kids did get a laugh out of Mahler’s slow-dirge treatment of Frère Jacques in his first symphony, and they really enjoyed White’s Mosquito Dance, the brass band excerpt from Piston’s The Incredible Flutist and Shostakovich’s “Polka” from The Golden Age because they were rhythmic and obviously funny, but the subtler humor of Prokofiev’s “Classical” Symphony, Haydn’s Symphony No. 88 and the opening of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier went over their heads. (To be honest, Bernstein’s comparison of the opening chords of Tristan und Isolde to the opening of Rosenkavalier also went over my head because the resemblance was sketchy at best.) By contrast, he explains what a concerto is in simple terms and gives the audience some good examples—mostly Baroque, which is fortunate because Bernstein’s conducting of Baroque music was always one of his greatest strengths. He always made the music dance. He then makes the mistake of jumping from the fun-oriented last movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto to the last two movements—great music, but very subtle—of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra.

But this is followed by one of the most remarkable of all Young People’s Concerts, the all-Mahler program. This was a real gamble for Bernstein, and although I’m sure he knew going into it that half of his audience would feel lost, he remarkably got many of his listeners into this complex and difficult music, mostly by choosing some of the composer’s most rhythmic pieces, starting with the first movement of the Fourth Symphony. He also explains Mahler in perfectly simple terms that even the nine-year-olds could grasp, and his sheer enthusiasm for the music is infectious. This is also the first concert in which we get some guest soloists: the great soprano Reri Grist in the last movement of the Fourth Symphony and both William Lewis and Helen Raab (the latter not well known) singing excerpts from DasLied von der Erde and the “Resurrection” Symphony. And of course, in Mahler’s music Bernstein is pretty much in his element, and in these early performances he does not exaggerate or distort the music as much as he did a few years later on.

After a pretty good explanation of Folk Music in the Concert Hall, in which he get to see and hear the legendary soprano Marni Nixon sing some of the Songs of the Auvergne, we get another fairly heavy topic, What is Impressionism?, largely focusing on Debussy (including a complete performance of La Mer) with contrasts provided by Beethoven and Johann Strauss Jr. The look of this telecast (December 1, 1961) differs from its predecessors. It is more brightly lit and the images are crisper. Undoubtedly, we have moved to tape by this time. Three months later, on March 26, 1962, Bernstein celebrates Igor Stravinsky’s 80th birthday with excerpts from Le Sacre du Printemps, Dumbarton Oaks and Agon (one of his 12-tone compositions) as well as a complete performance of fan favorite Petrouchka. The complete La Mer is a bit rushed while Petrouchka is a rather loose and imprecise performance, but both are effective enough to impress the young audience. By this time, the broadcasts have become more like full concerts and less like a learning-in-bits series, which I’m sure was wonderful if the same audience stuck with him but not quite so effective for those who missed the first two or three years. During the last scene of Petrouchka, the camera happens to pan one young boy sucking on his rolled-up program.

At the beginning of What is a Melody?, Bernstein apologizes for taking up so much time in the previous telecast that they didn’t get around to discussing music much because he was discussing all the wonderful things about the orchestra’s new home in Lincoln Center, but since this program isn’t on the set it was probably skipped. He does a good job, however, in describing the difference between a melody in classical music and a tune you can hum or sing. As examples, he compares the openings of the Beethoven Fifth and slow movement of the Tchaikovsky Fifth symphonies, then starts in on the long prelude to Tristan und Isolde—graduating, so to speak, from the kindergarten version of a theme to the college level. Yet he continually stops the Wagner prelude to explain what is going on, bit by bit, before piecing it together. This was pure genius. So was his breakdown of the first movement of the Mozart 40th Symphony, in which he pointed out some little details in the inner voices that even I hadn’t noticed in the dozens of times I’ve heard the symphony. Eventually, he works his way into Hindemith’s Concert Music for Strings & Brass, which may well be the Master’s thesis, before concluding with the great passacaglia from the Brahms Fourth.

The Latin American Spirit is essentially a showcase for the splashy Bataque of Oscar Fernández, Villa-Lobos’ famous Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 with Netania Davrath, Silvestre Revueltas’ Sensemayá, Copland’s Danzón Cubano and his own symphonic dances from West Side Story, but the real gem on this DVD is Jazz in the Concert Hall (March 11, 1964). Here, Gunther Schuller conducts his jazz parallel to the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, titled Journey Into Jazz, featuring such giants of the music as trumpeter Don Ellis, alto saxist and bass clarinetist Eric Dolphy, tenor saxist Benny Golson, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Joe Cocuzzo while Bernstein does the narration. Both the music and the narration are, alas, somewhat pretentious (often a failing of Schuller’s efforts), but for a young audience it was a pretty decent introduction to jazz-classical hybrids. The Copland Piano Concerto, by contrast, is only minimally jazzy, but Copland, who plays the solo part himself, was a good friend of Bernstein’s. Happily, it ends with a splendid jazz-classical hybrid by Larry Austin, a sadly neglected composer who is perhaps better known for having reconstructed and finished Charles Ives’ Universe Symphony. His own work, Improvisations for Orchestra and Jazz Soloists, is a 12-tone piece, superbly constructed (perhaps a little too densely for Bernstein’s young audience) and featuring the jazz quintet from the Schuller piece, here allowed even greater freedom in their solo spots. Happily, the combo includes both Ellis and Dolphy, who were fully conversant with modern classical music (Dolphy, in fact, started out as a serious student of such music before switching to jazz) as well as the kind of extraordinarily complex rhythms that Austin threw into the piece, and here the latter alternates between flute and bass clarinet to brilliant effect. A great piece, but way over the heads of Bernstein’s young audience, although with such brilliant improvisers in the mix this is unquestionably the definitive performance. The only studio recording of it was the one by Bernstein released in 1965, but poor Dolphy was dead by then and was not replaced. Ellis was again the trumpet soloist but the bassist was Barre Phillips.

On the last DVD, we get the Young Performers telecasts, given here as a group and out of chronological sequence. The first, dating from March 1960, features the excellent conductor Kenneth Schermerhorn, who went on to have a fine career, and three musicians who are not well known today, cellist Daniel Domb, violinist Barry Finclair and conductor Stefan Mengelberg. Interestingly, Schermerhorn conducts the Dvořák much the way Toscanini did in his performance with Edmund Kurtz, brisk and tight in phrasing although with not quite as much emotion. Domb plays it with a great technique and energy, but always seems to be “outside” the emotional core of the music. Finclair, whose later career was with the New York Strings, also plays with great technique, but with much more pep in his step. The second features one artist who has become a fixture in our concert world today, cellist Lynn Harrell, flautist Paola Robison who was a star for several years, and five not nearly as well known: pianist Jung Ja Kim, a professor of piano at the Boston Conservatory; soprano Veronica Tyler, who appeared on the Jack Paar Tonight Show and performed Serena in Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera in the mid-1980s; and conductors Elyakum Shapira, a Bernstein pupil who worked largely as an assistant conductor with various orchestras, Russell Stanger, who founded the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and Gregory Millar, who became the resident conductor of the Kalamazoo Symphony. Lynn Harrell is, well, the Lynn Harrell we all know and love, even way back in 1961: gorgeous tone and passionate playing, while Shapira’s conducting, though musical and crisp, is a bit more mechanical-sounding than Schermerhorn’s. At this point, Harrell resembled his father, the late baritone Mack Harrell, much more than he did in later life. Kim, all head-waving while she plays,

Tyler

Soprano Veronica Tyler

performs the Chopin Concerto No. 1 in the accepted tinkly-drippy style. The real “find” here is Tyler. Although her voice is very vibrant, it is not an out-of-control vibrato, and in the upper range the tone is better focused than on the bottom. She also had wonderful expression when she sang, and did a superb diminuendo on the final phrase of “Addio, senza rancor” from La Bohème. As good as this is, however, she shows even more personality in the little pop-music-like aria from Menotti’s The Telephone—and absolutely fabulous, clear, crisp diction. If you think the latter is not so remarkable, listen to today’s crop of English-speaking sopranos who sing English and you tell me if you can understand all the words they sing, even in songs and arias you know very well. She also shows off a pretty good trill in this one.

The third program, from April 1962, opens with 26-year-old Seiji Ozawa conducting Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro overture. He is leaner of face here, rather more restrained in his podium movements, and lacking his famous Beatles haircut, but the musical results are as excellent as always. Next up is the amazing Gary Karr, who even at age 20 could play the bass in the cello range and who later became a good-selling virtuoso on the Deutsche Grammophon label. The conductor in Bloch’s Prayer is Maurice Peress, who had a double passion for classical music and jazz. He worked with both Bernstein and Duke Ellington, for whom he revised the ending of Black, Brown and Beige for its 1988 premiere with the American Jazz Orchestra. He also conducted the Corpus Christi and Austin Symphony Orchestras. The second piece, which is dazzling, is Herman Reinshagen’s transcription of the Fantasy on a Theme from Rossini’s “Moses in Egypt,” originally written as a violin showpiece. The excellent and later fairly well-known John Canarina is the conductor in this one. By this time Shell Oil was apparently a sustaining sponsor, meaning that he had no ads in the show, but there was apparently a “statement” from Shell’s president of the time. We hear the announcer’s introduction but then the statement, thankfully, is excised from the DVD. In the really fine performance of Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, Karr—who plays “The Swan” on double bass in the original cello key—is joined by the superb flautist Paula Robison, a mainstay on the New York concert scene for decades, the piano duo of identical twins Ruth and Naomi Segal (who had a rather obscure career after this telecast) and clarinetist Paul Green who, in addition to classical music, also played jazz and klezmer.

And so we reach the end of Vol. 1 of the Bernstein Young People’s Concerts. These DVDs appear to be direct transfers of the VHS videotapes of the concerts released by Video Music Education, in conjunction with the Leonard Bernstein Society, in 1993 (Vol. 1) and in 1997 by Kultur Video (Vol. 2). The video quality is a little grainy in the early shows, but that’s to be expected. The sound quality, though a little tubby and dull on the top end in 1958-59, is remarkably clean and clear. My copy of the set (conventional DVD, not Blu-Ray) had one glitch, however. No matter how hard you try, you cannot take off the English subtitles before playing one of the concerts, but as soon as it starts you can go to “Titles Menu,” take the titles off and click “Resume” and it works just fine.

The big question, however, is who exactly the target market for this set is. There are two sure groups:

1)  Baby boomers like me who remember the shows when they were originally broadcast and loved them.

2) Bernstein fans who didn’t see the shows, either because they lived in a foreign country or were too young. The total of 1) and 2) is probably about 300,000 people. Bernstein’s stock has fallen since his death.

It is, however, my sincere hope that a third audience will want them, and that would be the parents of children aged about 9-15 who have shown at least a slight interest in classical music. Of course, today’s kids have even shorter attention spans than those of 1958-73—roughly two minutes at best unless there is some bouncing, flashing, colorful video to go along with the music. But you never know until you try, and Bernstein on DVD is about as good a teacher as your youngsters are going to get.

—© 2019 Lynn René Bayley

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