C1247. LEONARD BERNSTEIN Cond. Israel Phil., w.Jennie Tourel (MS) & Hanna Rovins (Narrator): Kaddish Symphony #3, to the memory of John Fitzgerald Kennedy (Cond. by the Composer), Live Performance, 10 Dec., 1963 (World Première Performance). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL 78-200 (from rare acetates from Charles Münch Collection [sent to Münch in preparation for the forthcoming American premiere]). Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“KADDISH is Leonard Bernstein's third symphony. The 1963 symphony is a dramatic work written for a large orchestra, a full choir, a boys' choir, a soprano soloist and a narrator. The name of the piece, KADDISH, refers to the Jewish prayer that is chanted at every synagogue service for the dead but never mentions ‘death’. The symphony is dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy who was assassinated on 22 November, 1963, just weeks before the first performance of the symphony.
The symphony was first performed in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 10 December, 1963, with Bernstein conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Jennie Tourel (mezzo soprano), Hanna Rovina (narrator) and the choruses under Abraham Kaplan. In this original version of the KADDISH Symphony, Bernstein specified that the narrator be female. The work was generally received with great enthusiasm in Israel.
The American premiere of the work took place soon afterwards on 10 January, 1964 in Boston with Charles Münch conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New England Conservatory Chorus and the Columbus Boychoir, again with Ms. Tourel, but now with Felicia Montealegre (narrator).”
- Yves St Laurent
“Bernstein gave a credibility to American musicianship that hadn’t existed before, easing our sense of inferiority. He came along and did what seemed impossible: bringing Mahler back to Vienna!
He loved storytelling, and music for him was just a vehicle for telling stories. Often his stories had important morals as well: There was always a lesson to be learned. For me that was a big takeaway. He was so many things: a great conductor, great composer, great pianist. But he was also a TV star, he was a thinker, he was a philosopher, he was a political activist. How many people could wear all of those hats at once? It’s a rare thing.”
-Marin Alsop, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 23 Aug., 2018
“Bernstein was ‘one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history’. He is quite possibly the conductor whose name is best known to the public in general, especially the American public. His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, from his conducting of concerts with most of the world's leading orchestras, and from his music for WEST SIDE STORY, as well as CANDIDE, WONDERFUL TOWN, ON THE TOWN and his own MASS. Bernstein was also the first conductor to give numerous television lectures on classical music, starting in 1954 and continuing until his death. In addition, he was a skilled pianist, often conducting piano concertos from the keyboard.
In 1960 Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic held a Mahler Festival to mark the centenary of the composer's birth. Bernstein, Walter and Mitropoulos conducted performances. The composer's widow, Alma, attended some of Bernstein's rehearsals. The success of [Bernstein’s Mahler] recordings, along with Bernstein's concert performances and television talks, was an important part of the revival of interest in Mahler in the 1960s, especially in the US.
In 1964 Bernstein conducted Franco Zeffirelli's production of Verdi's FALSTAFF at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In 1966 he made his début at the Vienna State Opera conducting Luchino Visconti's production of the same opera with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau as Falstaff. He returned to the State Opera in 1968 for a production of DER ROSENKAVALIER and in 1970 for Otto Schenk's production of Beethoven's FIDELIO. Sixteen years later, at the State Opera, Bernstein conducted his sequel to TROUBLE IN TAHITI, A QUIET PLACE, with the ORF orchestra."
- Donal Henahan, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 15 Oct., 1990
“One of Schonberg's most famous criticisms of Bernstein [to whom he referred as] ‘the Peter Pan of music’, written after the famous 6 April, 1962 performance before which Bernstein announced that he disagreed with pianist Glenn Gould's interpretation of Brahms' Piano Concerto #1 but was going to conduct it anyway because he found it fascinating. Schonberg chided Bernstein in print, suggesting that he should have either refrained from publicizing his disagreement, backed out of the concert, or imposed his own will on Gould.”
- Harold C. Schoenberg, THE GREAT CONDUCTORS
"Jennie Tourel, like Erna Berger, was able to retain her voice in remarkable condition at an age when other singers have long since retired (or should have)....Tourel at age 70 sounds better than many women half her age – or at any point in their careers, for that matter."
- John Boyer, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Jan./Feb., 2004
“Each of these disks, from Canadian engineer Yves St Laurent… [feature] St Laurent's natural transfer – made without filtering, like all his dubbings – it is easy to listen to, despite the surface noise.”
- Tully Potter, CLASSICAL RECORD QUARTERLY, Summer, 2011