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Leonard Bernstein conducting

Five of Bernstein's Best Recordings with the LSO

From Mahler’s Symphonies to his own Candide, here are just five highlights of Leonard Bernstein’s recording sessions with the LSO.


2-minute read

Leonard Bernstein conducted the LSO in seven recording sessions, and made nine TV appearances with the Orchestra, mostly live on BBC and recorded for release. Here are a few highlights.

Mahler’s Symphony No 8

Leonard Bernstein had recorded his first Mahler cycle with the New York Philharmonic, including every Symphony except the Eighth. He recorded Mahler’s Symphony No 8 in his first sessions with the LSO in 1966.

Verdi Requiem

Recorded at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970, Verdi’s Requiem with the LSO and Bernstein featured soloists Martina Arroyo, Josephine Veasey, Plácido Domingo, Ruggero Raimondi and the London Symphony Chorus.

Mahler Symphony No 2

Bernstein and the LSO recorded Mahler’s Symphony No 2 at Ely Cathedral in 1973, following two performances at the Edinburgh Festival. The soloists were Sheila Armstrong and Janet Baker.

Beethoven Symphony No 9

On 25 December 1989 Bernstein conducted Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 in East Berlin to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. Musicians representing five orchestras from East Germany, France, the UK, US and USSR, including members of the LSO, joined the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. The concert was broadcast live in more than 20 countries.

Bernstein Candide

Bernstein’s last sessions with the LSO were in 1989, to record his own Candide. This recording earned the London Symphony Chorus their first Grammy award. Some years earlier the lively overture to Candide had been the LSO’s party piece, and may bring back memories of André Previn’s Music Night.

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