Now they are releasing Leonard Bernstein’s poetry

August 9, 2018 by norman lebrecht


The flood of centennial memorabilia knows no bounds.

WGBH’s has just released a recording of Leonard Bernstein’s poem ‘Life is Juicy,’ read by actor Jeremy Irons. will release approximately 20 poems in the coming weeks.

You can listen to the first one here.


Comments (7)

  1. Fan says:

    Death is the classic,
    something to contemplate.

  2. Sharon says:

    I’ve read better poetry (in my opinion) but Bernstein makes an important point.

    Interesting how both his professional and personal life was in many ways the intersection of the “fluid”, musically and sexually, and the dry, that is, structure.

    Perhaps he looked at too much structure as a form of death.

  3. Marc says:

    I’ve always loved the poem Lenny wrote (and submitted to the NY Times) about the creation of “Chichester Psalms.” A charming defense of good old tonality:

    For hours on end I brooded and mused
    On materiae musicae, used and abused;
    On aspects of unconventionality,
    Over the death in our time of tonality…
    Pieces for nattering, clucking sopranos
    With squadrons of vibraphones, fleets of pianos
    Played with the forearms, the fists and the palms —
    And then I came up with the Chichester Psalms.
    … My youngest child, old-fashioned and sweet.
    And he stands on his own two tonal feet.

  4. Simon Evnine says:

    Here are the few lines the OP missed out :

    …then I came up with the Chichester Psalms.
    These psalms are a simple and modest affair,
    Tonal and tuneful and somewhat square….
    But there it stands the result of my pondering,
    Two long months of avant-garde wandering —
    My youngest child, old-fashioned and sweet.
    And he stands on his own two tonal feet.

  5. Caravaggio says:

    A case of some things are better left unsaid (er, unpublished).

  6. 18mebrumaire says:

    Dear God, save us from this dreck!

  7. Harold says:

    This is doggerel.

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