Video of the day: Lenny Bernstein shows his stars and stripes

Love those sideburns in the brass.

bernstein schooltube

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  • C’mon Lenny. No joy whatsoever – too fast – until 2:40. The joy Slava Rostropovich infused into this delicious American gem, on every concert while on tour, was infectious.

  • It’s from Royal Albert Hall. Presumably the same concert where they did Unanswered Question + Rhapsody in Blue

  • The most touching performance of the “Stars and Stripes Forever” I’ve heard was with the Warsaw Philharmonic. They performed it as an encore to a concert in Kansas City a number of years ago after the liberation of Eastern Europe.

    • I don’t believe national anthems should associate themselves with war. War is an abomination in any and every circumstance, and regardless of its necessity. And on a far smaller level, militarism in art always ends in tackiness, as this video illustrates.

  • There are so many problems with this. Orchestras notoriously play Sousa too fast (this tempo is ludicrous) and, of course, there is the issue of the “wrong” key, percussion parts the composer didn’t right, etc. AND, the master NEVER slowed down at the last strain. Exciting? Sorry Harold, Lenny butchered this wonderful piece of Americana. He needed to simply stay away from the wind band world.

  • The worst performance I ever heard was by Solti and the Chicago Symphony on an Asian tour in the mid-1980s. Not that it was badly played. It was all to do with the timing. After Haydn and a second half of Bruckner 7, the audience were utterly shocked when the CSO launched into the Stars and Stripes as the encore. It completely destroyed the beauty of the Bruckner.

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