Today, we finished hearing and watching “Bernstein in Rehearsal
and Performance: Shostakovich Symphony No. 1.” This DVD was
videotaped in 1988, at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, with an
orchestra of talented young musicians. The festival is probably
somewhat similar to the Tanglewood Music Festival which is held each
summer, in conjunction with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. As
always, Leonard Bernstein was exemplary when working with
young people. Surprisingly, these rehearsals were conducted in
English, with the occasional use of German.
The orchestral performance which followed was a fine one.
Dmitri Shostakovich was 19-years old when he completed this work,
as a part of his graduation requirements from the Petrograd
Conservatory. In light of his age, it’s quite accomplished. The symphony
is filled with many of the cheeky and sardonic moments that we’ve
learned to expect from this composer throughout his career.
“Bernstein in Rehearsal and Performance: Shostakovich Symphony
No. 1” is a revealing portrait of concert preparation with successful
execution, and highly recommended.