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Bernstein, Leonard: Symphony No.2: The Age of Anxiety (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

08/04/1949
Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts
Leonard Bernstein, piano / Boston Symphony Orchestra / Serge Koussevitzky

Programme Note

Deutsch

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

Jean-Yves Thibaudet/Baltimore Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop
Naxos 8.559790

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