Today marks the release of Warner Classics’ new recording of Bernstein’s Three Symphonies, with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano, and this evening they bring the First Symphony to the BBC Proms, paired with Mahler’s First Symphony. This landmark recording has been awarded Gramophone Magazine’s Recording of the Month.
Antonio Pappano conducts the Orchestra of the Academy of Santa Cecilia in Bernstein’s first symphony at the Proms on 10 August. Pappano’s Bernstein: The 3 Symphonies is out on 10 August on Warner Classics.
Leonard Bernstein was a regular guest in Rome and Honorary President of the orchestra from 1983 to 1990. In his contribution to an article in The Guardian last month, Pappano noted “Bernstein loved the colour and warmth of the orchestra. [He] describes his symphonies as a crisis of faith, but always looking for redemption, for renewing that faith. Look what God throws down at us – it’s tough to be Jewish, tough to be Christian, tough to be religious – is the overriding theme of the cycle. His first symphony, ‘Jeremiah’, was written in 1942 – a time when the world was in a very dark place. His third and final symphony, ‘Kaddish’, is a response to the assassination of JF Kennedy, the text of its narration written by Bernstein himself and conceived for his wife. Bernstein’s reputation as a conductor has, for some, overwhelmed his identity as a composer, but he’s one of those composers where you can take every bar of his music and reference it back to something else and yet, like other great composers, you play three notes and you know it’s Bernstein.” (The Guardian)
Continuing the centenary celebrations, Pappano will open the 18/19 season of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia with concert performances of Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story’, featuring an all-star cast including Nadine Sierra, Alek Shrader and Mark Stone. Concerts are on 12, 13, 14 October at the Auditorium Parco della Musica.