• Find us on Facebook
  • View Our YouTube Channel
  • Listen on Spotify
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • View our scores on nkoda


Abbreviations (PDF)

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

World Premiere

Teatro La Fenice, Venice
Isaac Stern, violin / Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice / Leonard Bernstein

Programme Note

Based on Plato’s dialogue Symposium, Serenade is one of Bernstein’s most elegantly fashioned orchestral works.  Though it features a prominent role for the solo violin, lyricism generally wins out over virtuoso display.  In Plato’s Symposium – the title literally means “drinking party” – some of Athens’s greatest minds gather to offer their thoughts on the true nature of love.  As Serenade’s five movements unfold, Bernstein follows the structure of Plato’s drama, capturing the emotional essence of each speaker’s argument, as well as the dynamics of their interlocking friendships.  Plato’s participants come to realize that true love is a desire for self-immortalization and for perpetual possession of the Good and Beautiful – an insight that elicits some of Bernstein’s most exquisite music.  

More on this Composer

Stay updated on the latest composer news and publications