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Legendary Composer Leonard Bernstein’s Centenary Celebrated With Mammoth Multi-Disc Box Sets

Composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein’s centenary is being celebrated with mammoth box sets, including a ‘Complete Works’ collection.

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To celebrate the centenary of legendary composer Leonard Bernstein’s birth (25 August 1918), Deutsche Grammophon are set to release a series of spectacular new releases and reissues of his iconic work. At the heart of the project are two flagship box sets: the 29-disc Bernstein: Complete Works celebrates his work as a composer, while the 158-disc Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon And Decca pays tribute to Bernstein the conductor.

Out now, Bernstein: Complete Works comprises 26 CDs and three DVDs, making available less familiar pieces, such as his chamber music or his songs, alongside worldwide hits the likes of West Side Story and Chichester Psalms. It also includes a number of fresh recordings made expressly for this edition, notably American pianist Katie Mahan’s survey of his piano music, from the early ‘Sonata’ (1938) right through to Thirteen Anniversaries (1988).

Bernstein: Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon And Decca, meanwhile, contains all the composer’s recordings as a conductor for the two labels, together with his complete Deutsche Grammophon/Unitel DVD catalogue. Comprising 121 CDs, 36 DVDs and a Blu-ray Audio disc, it features such legendary recordings as Wagner’s Tristan Und Isolde (1981) and Bizet’s Carmen (1972), works by legendary composer Stravinsky and Shostakovich, and, of course, the complete symphonies of Beethoven and Mahler. This set is scheduled for release on 23 February.

In addition, further Bernstein 100 releases are due to follow as the year progresses. Titles such as a two-disc recording of Mass; a new edition of his world famous Broadway production West Side Story; and a 5CD edition of The Tanglewood Tapes – featuring unreleased live recordings from the Tanglewood Festival, whose early days were presided over by Bernstein’s mentor, Serge Koussevitsky – are also slated for release during 2018.

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was a man of many roles – composer, conductor, pianist, musical educator – and a man hailed by pianist Arthur Rubenstein as a “universal genius”. A charismatic communicator, he had few equals when it came to enthusing others about music. Whether at festival, in a TV studio or university lecture hall, or performing his legendary version of Gerhswin’s Rhapsody In Blue at the piano, Leonard Bernstein’s presence, passion and unquestioned commitment to his art were palpable.

Buy Bernstein: Complete Works here.

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For more Bernstein 100 activity, visit www.deutschegrammophon.com/Bernstein100.

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