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A Curious and rather difficult experiment
March 1, 2013 7:36 PM   Subscribe

On the November 11, 1954 edition of the US educational program Omnibus, Leonard Bernstein presented what amounted to a 30-minute master class on one of the most familiar of all classical works, the first movement of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, to include reinserting some unused sketches. The results are, to put it mildly, interesting.
posted by pjern (18 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite

 
[this is great]
posted by John Cohen at 8:11 PM on March 1, 2013


Lenny is so young!
posted by jim in austin at 8:40 PM on March 1, 2013


Don't normally go for this high-brow stuff, but good-on-ya.
-That Bernstein kids the real McCoy.
posted by vozworth at 8:44 PM on March 1, 2013


"Beethoven was first and foremost a builder." —Leonard Bernstein

Context, schmontext.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:46 PM on March 1, 2013


Absolutely fabulous. Bernstein arranged his lesson as carefully as Beethoven did his movement, and its logic and insight flowed just as inevitably. Such pedagogical excellence is unfortunately so rare.
posted by shivohum at 8:58 PM on March 1, 2013


Wow. That was great. And he went about ten minutes there without a cut. *That's* knowing your shit.
posted by notsnot at 9:12 PM on March 1, 2013


Amazing. I loved the set. Simple, stark, and effective. Oh for the days of quality TV. I grew up with Lennie's Young People's Concerts. He made the music real.
posted by njohnson23 at 9:23 PM on March 1, 2013


Holy shit, YouTube then suggests a Bernstein Omnibus on jazz. Sweet download delight!
posted by Ber at 9:30 PM on March 1, 2013


I paraphrase but "the feminine voice of the flute is intruding like a delicate lady at a club smoker."

There's a metaphor I never thought I'd hear in a discussion of Shakespeare - except the sexism part, I expected that.

Because that was how men spoke in the 50's.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:59 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


The flute is the high pitched sound of a woman at a gentleman's smoker. Oh easy misogyny how black and white is your sting.
posted by Splunge at 9:59 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


JINKS! OWE ME A COKE!
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:00 PM on March 1, 2013


Omnibus presenter on Beethoven at 00:26 : "When he wrote this symphony, he was going blind, and he had gone deaf long ago".

Now we know that the latter part is inaccurate (complete deafness is another 10-12 years off), but I didn't know people thought the former in the 50s. Where did that come from?
posted by Gyan at 10:10 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


A little more about The Symphony of the Air.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:29 PM on March 1, 2013


pbs must have been interesting in its early days, when its focus was education for the masses rather than entertainment (i remember SCETV claiming that its first broadcasts were french classes).
that being said, its all becoming available to us now, at any hour we please, via the glory of youtube
posted by camdan at 10:53 PM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amazing stuff. Really lovely analysis.
posted by MythMaker at 8:51 AM on March 2, 2013


If there were a way to combine this video with a TED TALK stage and then call it a TED TALK, it would have a million views by now
posted by EJXD2 at 11:58 AM on March 2, 2013


Luckily our modern geniuses can finish a score in a week or two instead of 8 years!

(Helps keep the bill down.)
posted by Twang at 2:18 PM on March 2, 2013


It feels wrong that no audience erupts into deafening applause at the end.
posted by Peevish at 7:56 AM on March 3, 2013


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