Four new DVDs of Bernstein’s “Omnibus” programs

Posted on: February 16, 2010

In Tuesday’s (2/16) New York Times, Allan Kozinn writes, “Imagine this: you drop onto the sofa on a Sunday afternoon, switch on the TV and see a dapper young man with a baton standing before an orchestra and demonstrating the patterns conductors use to lead music in different meters—two, three, four and five beats to the bar. He directs his players in a few examples, bits of Beethoven’s Ninth and Schubert’s Eighth Symphonies, Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf,’ Waldteufel’s ‘Skater’s Waltz.’ … For 48 minutes, this young conductor—Leonard Bernstein, caught on film in 1955—brings you into the musician’s world, talking about how tempo, dynamics and phrasing express a conductor’s feelings and beliefs about a piece, and how that expressivity affects a listener’s perception of the music. … Bernstein’s conducting demonstration was one of seven appearances, now on DVD, that he made on ‘Omnibus,’ a 90-minute program that offered segments on science and the arts, particularly music and theater. It ran from 1952 to 1961, and migrated across the networks, from CBS to ABC in 1956, and to NBC in 1957. For a Bernstein fan, this set of appearances, just released by E1 Entertainment (on four DVDs), is a landmark in the development of Bernstein’s public persona.”

Posted February 16, 2010