From Joseph Horowitz’s centennial essay on a failed messiah:
Bernstein’s disappointment upon leaving the Philharmonic was undisguised. He knew that he had failed to transform the orchestra into something dynamically American. He had endured steady complaints—basically valid—that it lacked the gold-standard polish of the orchestras in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cleveland. But if his were not the accomplishments he had once envisioned, they were formidable and distinctive. He had not remotely succeeded in canonizing an American repertoire. But, starting from scratch, he had established the iconic importance of Charles Ives. He had singlehandedly canonized Nielsen and helped to restore Sibelius’s luster. And he had left a central legacy honoring a composer and Philharmonic music director far bigger than himself: Gustav Mahler….
Read on here.