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BERNSTEIN: Serenade / Facsimile / Divertimento

Composer(s):Bernstein, Leonard
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category BalletOrchestral
Catalogue 8.559245
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Download and Stream

Conductor, composer, educator, pianist: Leonard Bernstein was, without question, the greatest musician America has ever produced. Bernstein described his Serenade, inspired by Plato’s Symposium, as a “series of related statements in praise of love” and considered it his “most satisfying” work. Of particular note is the slow lyrical melody in the first movement, Phaedrus, soon to be immortalised in Maria from West Side Story (Naxos 8.559126). Facsimile, a work by turns acerbic and tender, depicts post-war malaise and the spiritual vacuum of modern man. In the Divertimento for Orchestra, composed for the Boston Symphony on their centenary, Bernstein enjoys himself with many musical puns and breezy humour.

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Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

The Serenade for solo violin and strings is one of the deepest, most ambitious works that Bernstein ever wrote, which makes it a pity that he gave this half-hour work the title ‘Serenade’, suggesting lightness, rather than calling it a full violin concerto. Philippe Quint gives a thoughtful, refined reading of a work inspired by the idea of mirroring Plato’s Symposium. He is well supported by Marin Alsop and the Bournemouth orchestra. Facsimile is a ballet score on the theme of post-war life…is most effective in the fast music, which distantly echoes West Side Story. The Divertimento, written for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is an occasional piece that has its moments of fun…Excellent sound.

Review By Remy Louis,Diapason,January 2006

Still not well known in France yet, (Russian born) Philippe Quint enlightens the Serenade with spontaneous and nimble expression and with a grand precise rhythm. Each movement,remarkably played and offers a wide variety of colors. As his name doesn't show it (first name coming for the admiration of the Kings of France by his mother, last name originates in Italy) this student of Andrei Korsakov became US citizen in 1991. He had already recorded a violin concerto by William Schuman with Jose Serebrier and Bournemouth Symphony and the other one with Lukas Foss with the composer at the piano. This recording of the Serenade confirms the interest that young violinist has in this chef d'oeuvre. Having just put aside the recent Naxos issue of Kaddish [review] I was enthusiastic


Review By Remy Louis,Diapason,January 2006

Review By ,Scherzo,April 2006


Review By Matthew Rye,The Daily Telegraph (Australia),January 2006

Bernstein’s Serenade for solo violin, strings, harp and percussion deserves to be better known, and warrants a place among the more popular 20th-century violin concertos in concert programmes. As its title suggests, it is less a virtuoso vehicle than some, though its more lyrical demeanour provides challenges of its own. These Philippe Quint sails through, with playing full of firm tone and shapeliness. It is true that this meditation on love, inspired by Plato, has its moments of typical Bernstein sentimentality, but there is also plenty of muscle in its rhythms and orchestral writing, and Marin Alsop’s direction is firm yet pliant.


Review By Lawson Taitte,The Dallas Morning News,December 2005

THE MUSIC: As loved as Leonard Bernstein's theater music is, his concert pieces haven't caught on quite as much. Perhaps the most popular is the Serenade for Violin and Orchestra, loosely – very loosely – inspired by Plato's Symposium. Essentially it's a violin concerto in the tuneful American tradition of Samuel Barber, and none the worse for that. The ballet Facsimile sometimes sounds like outtakes from West Side Story, and the late Divertimento is just good, clean fun.



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