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“Oh, to be young, rich, and successful!” Having been none of the three, I can hardly relate to the amazing life led by Leonard Bernstein. This book manages to remain fascinating, even gripping, throughout every stage of Bernstein’s life, and it is a tribute to the author’s talent and wisdom that he is able to reveal and portray Bernstein’s high and lows, generosity and selfishness, brilliance and deceit, within a compelling narrative that is as evenhanded as it is admiring. It’s also an excellen...
I got this 1994 book after seeing in San Francisco performance of Bernstein's Candide. Having grown up in NYC when he was very famous I recall the conversation about him that he was brilliant and a bit crazy. I searched for a bio on him and this was the best choice. The author (is he alive?) knew him and had access to papers and letters not available to everyone.This is an excellent very detailed biography. He balances Bernstein's life with music with his personal life. It is a fascinating read....
A brick of a book, some 700 small font pages, detailing the 72 years of Maestro Leonard Bernstein, composer, conductor, family man, and larger than life personality who died in 1990. Burton worked closely with Bernstein for over thirty years, and with the co-operation of his family, many friends, and lots of associates, wrote a compelling and entertaining official account of the Maestro's life. I first became aware of Bernstein watching a BBC documentary of his DG recording of West Side Story in...
An incredibly well researched biography of one of, if not the, most important American musician of the 20th century. If all you know is West Side Story or Bernstein’s work as the conductor of the NY Phil, definitely read this book. Apart from the details surrounding Bernstein’s immensely complicated politics, sexuality, family life, and celebrity, this biography really delves into what it means to be a great conductor, composer, pedagogue, and creator.
I read this authorized biography and then read the unauthorized biography. published at about the same time. I have to say that it was unsettling to read the unauthorized version as it seemed like a tell all Hollywood novel. This biography gets it right.
Quite a good biography. Well researched; well written.
Amazing personality.Can imagine a better biography.
Though written just three years after Bernstein's death, this is still the definitive recounting of his life. It's excellent.
You have to be REALLY interested in this artist to get through this book. But I enjoyed it, and learned a lot about musical theater and classical music in general.
Fantastic - reads like historical fiction. You'll be dreaming of Tanglewood after reading this book!
Leonard Bernstein was one of the most passionate people in the past 50 years and it's fit that Burton has created a biography that is is just as passionate. In fact, I'm sure this book could have been doubled in size with all the things Bernstein did in his 72 years. He touched almost every single part of musical life and did so because he always had a yearning to create and then go on to educate what he learned. I never got a chance to meet Bernstein, but I'm sure I would have been just as enth...
[From my Master of Music thesis proposal:]As a twentieth-century composer living both in the academic world and the public eye, Bernstein was the subject of significant scholarly study both during his lifetime and has been in the years since his death. Humphrey Burton’s Leonard Bernstein was commissioned by the Leonard Bernstein Estate in 1991. The Estate granted exclusive access to the Bernstein Archive, and he heavily relied on it to construct his narrative. A former BBC producer and radio per...
This is a model biography. It is extremely well written, entertaining but does not shy away from tackling potentially controversial areas like the Black Panther episode. But above all, it manages to reveal Leonard Bernstein as one of the most talented and interesting artists of the 21st Century. In wrting about Bernstein's life, it also portrays the development of America and Israel vividly. A great read.
I knew very little about Leonard Bernstein before reading this book, and it was really interesting. However, I wish it would have focused more on his professional life. The author wouldn't have to squeeze such a career into such a limited space if he hadn't worried about who was sleeping with who and all that crap.
The man was certainly interesting and a wonderful musician. Burton includes many stories which paint a vivid picture, but at times, the stories and information become redundant. A great biography nonetheless.
This book was very thick and I had to return it to the library before I finished it. I am not sure I will borrow it again; not because I didn't like it and not because I didn't like Leonard Bernstein, but because it was daunting.
He's not always likable, but he IS always fascinating. I went through a period where I read about the people who shaped our artistic vision during the middle of the 20th century and he is at the top of that list.
Hands down one of my favorite biographies ever.
Read this in hardcover. A wonderful look into the private life of this talented man of many faces.