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Bernstein orchestral works

BBC SO Total Immersion: Leonard Bernstein

A headshot of J'Nai Bridges

A rare chance to hear the song-cycle Songfest and Bernstein’s Plato-inspired Serenade in a concert launched with the fireworks of Candide’s Overture.

Three very different faces of Leonard Bernstein in one concert. The Overture to his opera Candide shows not just his virtuosity at orchestra but his wit and knowledge of bel canto opera too – it’s one of his most sparkling scores. The Serenade, a philosophical reflection, is his violin concerto in all but name and has become increasingly popular in recent years. Songfest, which Bernstein himself conducted at the 1988 BBC Proms, is an orchestral song-cycle for five soloists and orchestra that celebrates many of things closest to his heart in a dozen beautifully chosen poems ranging from Walt Whitman and Edgar Allen Poe to Gertrude Stein and EE Cummings. David Charles Abell, who worked with Bernstein during the 1980s, takes up the baton.

Cocktails, concrete and tonnes of charm

Pop into the Martini Bar for a pre-performance tipple, with Happy Hour from 5-6pm

Barbican Hall