Let us recall that great American and citizen of the world who trod every musical pathway and who held his audience riveted with unbounded energy and charisma. Whether as a composer of operas or musicals, performer, conductor or mentor, “Lenny” felt at home everywhere. And all who were privileged enough to get to know him can confirm this, whether they experienced him as a circumspect teacher who taught interested amateurs about church music, or even as a pianist bawling out hit songs in a bar.
Quality was guaranteed with records sporting the words “Bernstein conducts ...”, and no music lover ever missed adding such gems to his collection. But most recordings of Bernstein as a master of the keyboard lie buried in the archives.
Where some musicians fail due to a lack of perspicacity or false self-judgement, Bernstein appears to take himself beyond his normal bounds in his double function as solo pianist and conductor. His interpretation of Mozart is richly nuanced but free of all romantic trimmings; his Mozart is what we have learned to value over the past few years of the present century. This recording is absolutely first class, both musically and technically, and is thus a true collector’s object.