Always absorbing and frequently brilliant, Leonard Bernstein's The Unanswered Question is a very lucid and convincing discussion of music's history and forms, with particular emphasis on modern music. It addresses the average intelligent listener who is not musically trained but wants to know what makes music work–what is meant, for example, by "tonal" and "atonal." It requires some concentration, but Bernstein, a superb teacher, keeps technical jargon to a minimum, illustrates what he means with musical examples and graphics, and repeats key points. This amazing 6 volume DVD explores all types of music, including: folk music, pop songs, symphonies, tonal and atonal works; all taught by legendary master composer and conductor, Leonard Bernstein.
This is the last and also the longest of Mr. Bernstein's lectures in this cycle. He presents us with "sincerity" in music and whether the examples he plays are sincere or not and reminds us of Theodore Adorno's theory on the compositional dichotomy in the persons of Schoenberg and Stravinsky. For Adorno the latter is "a child of satan" full of heart-up-his-sleeve forms of expression, vacuous; in other words: artificial. Whereas Schoenberg represents the saintly, objective and direct expression of feelings; i.e. what is ART and what is ARTIFICIAL. How artificial can art be and still be art?
Mr. Bernstein kicks off with Ravel's Rapsodie Espagnole, 4th Movement, to illustrate a total unawareness of a tonal crisis. The bigger and greater the ambiguities, the more immortal is tonality. There is still Rosenkavalier to be written, some operas by Puccini and Firebird. But 1908 breathes an air of disturbance indicating that tonality cannot last, nor figurative painting, nor syntactical poetry, nor the seemingly endless growth of colonial wealth or imperial power. A hint of social collapse. Marinetti's "Manifesto of Futurism" is to appear. Mahler, writing his 9th Symphony, agonizes over his reluctant and protracted farewell to tonality. Scriabin does so in his Prometheus. Sibelius in his 4th Symphony
One of the most fascinating of all the six Norton Lectures. Bernstein here juggles with Berlioz' Romeo and Juliet and shows us how it was he who set the tonal basis for Wagner to compose his Tristan and Isolde. The analysis of the diminished 7th chord, which has -in this instance- four resolutions but they are all ambiguous and lead us to other tonal possibilities. Bernstein discovers the analogies between Romeo and Juliet and Wagner's Tristan, in this his most enlightened exposition of compositional theory.
Continuing with with my previous video upload, here is the 3nd Lecture pronounced at Harvard in 1973 by Leonard Bernstein as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry during his tenure from 1971 onwards.
Continuing with with my previous video upload, here is the 2nd Lecture pronounced at Harvard in 1973 by Leonard Bernstein as the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry during his tenure from 1971 onwards.
At the beginning of his first Norton Lecture, Leonard Bernstein explained the importance of "inter-disciplinary values - that the best way to 'know' a thing is in the context of another discipline." In these six lectures, Bernstein communicated his ideas of the universality of musical language through wide-ranging analogies to linguistics, aesthetic philosophy, acoustics as well as music history. However, while many of his ideas are intellectually challenging, the great achievement of the lectures is that through their breadth they make complex musical concepts accessible to a general audience.