We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I grew up down the road from Bernstein's weekend house. My Mom was friends with Mrs. B. and I recall that they did garden designing together. A gay friend of mine who had met him at a party acknowledged that Lenny was "as gay as a Christmas Tree", but I guess he and Mrs. B. worked it out somehow and they had three kids.
Who cares about that? Bernstein was a rock star, and contributed a heck of a lot to American culture. As best I can recall, I only heard him conduct the New York once in youth, but I wouldn't know the difference anyway. Conductors do their interesting work in rehearsal, not on stage. If you want to learn about music performance, attend a rehearsal instead of the final performance.
He loved Mahler. When he grew older, Bernstein devoted himself to musical education. His Young People's Concerts on youtube are valuable to any adult. They were always sold out in NYC. Here's one of his Young People's Concerts at Carnegie Hall:
Bernstein claimed that Copland was his real teacher. West Side Story had to be one of his composing masterpieces, an opera, it is Romeo and Juliet:
I grew up in a small southern town with no symphony - in fact, there was no symphony for hundreds of miles at a time before Interstate highways. I was a trombone player, but the high school band was the most professional I could see live.
Bernstein's Young People's Concerts were my introduction to the orchestra and the much wider world of music. He made a huge difference in my life. I went on to play professionally - including in symphonies myself.
When I was a kid, Lenny's father's business in Boston was just down the hall from my father's shop. I went in there once, just out of curiosity, but I was too young to know diddly about the famous son.
According to Wkipedia, not only was Copland his teacher (or, I'd add, perhaps more), but he was also the one who instilled in him a love of Mahler's music.
Conductors do their interesting work in rehearsal, not on stage. If you want to learn about music performance, attend a rehearsal instead of the final performance.
Boy howdy did you nail it - that's the best part of any performance and if you ever get a chance to see an orchestra or classical singers rehears grab it because you will learn a lot both about music and what a conductor does.
--i count three people, BD, Paxety, and Cooper with direct links to or life-changes due to the guy --it really is a small world ("unless you have to paint it" --Steven Wright).
XRay, it IS a simple thing by the time anyone sees it --they're really just keeping time in public performance --like the fellers said. Audience can't usually see him queing the instrument sections --unless a film is being made by cameras right in there with the orchestra, and the conductor happens to be especially expressive.
This guy Daniel Barenboim, with his voung people's orchestra, HQ'd in Spain and deliberately mixing north African talent Jewish and Muslim, is on the youtubes with just such a close-up camera technique.
The URL here is among several, most of which are shorter --but lack the must-see intro where the maestro answers questions about the music as it relates to people's deepest emotions.
He's not in Bernstein's class as a marquee name, and he wasn't designed as a classic conductor by the almighty as was Bernstein --in fact he's just a short dumpy elderly little guy --but watch him transform on the spot when the music starts --into the most rubber-faced human this side of Red Skelton, cueing sections with eyebrows, mouth, tongue, cheeks chin nose ears & eyeballs bulging, sometimes a giant grinning up onto his tiptoes, throwing his hands out it looks like 20 feet reaching for the notes, then cueing darker passages rising up out of a hole glaring fierce at the kids making the sound --aw heck he's a total animated action trip, as is his band of 20-somethings, who play like they're decades more experienced --certainly due (you see it in their faces) to the music but as expressed in the old man's philosophy and personality.
And it's all right there plain to see due to the un-noticed camera work, which is the valiant thing that kept all this subtle but powerful action from being a total secret (instead of just a complete mystery) to the audience.
Maggie's some months ago featured this ChooChoo from 1941's "Sun Valley Serenade" --however, since then, this URL has surfaced, and it's much MUCH better; no cuts, superb sound quality (try headphones --there's a lot happening in that rhythm section), and most of all the video is far clearer, which is great when Dorothy Dandridge comes on for the big finale. Watch her in her opening cakewalk from your right to your left across stage, when one of the Nicholas Bros behind her leaps across the caboose and suddenly appears in front of her. Watch her 'surprise!' reaction. Priceless!