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Bernstein, LeonardThe Age of Anxiety (Symphony No.2) (1949) 36'
for piano and orchestra, after WH Auden

Scoring
2.picc.2.corA.2.bcl.2.dbn-4.3.3.1-timp.perc(4):SD/BD/TD/tam-t/cym/ tpl.bl/tgl/glsp/xyl-cel-2harps(IIad lib)-pianino-strings.
Abbreviations (PDF).

Territory
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere
4/8/1949
Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
Leonard Bernstein, piano / Boston Symphony Orchestra / Serge Koussevitzky


Programme Note  
Like Serenade, Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2 “The Age of Anxiety” is a concertante work, and closely follows the action of  a philosophically oriented literary source – in this case,
W. H. Auden’s poem/dialogue of the same title.  In Auden’s poem, four lonely people meet in a bar and try, through alcohol, to establish some kind of connection: ostensibly with each other, but ultimately with God.  Says Bernstein, “The piano provides an almost autobiographical protagonist, set against an orchestral mirror in which he sees himself, analytical, in the modern ambience.”  Bernstein’s intense personal identification with this poem, and with its characters’ dilemmas, gives this work its powerful emotional pull.

Recommended Recording
Michelle DeYoung/James Tocco/BBC Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin
Chandos CHAN 9889

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