Leonard Bernstein is so much a part of my life that at one point I thought that I knew the man and called him Uncle Lenny. It took several days to realize this was in fact not true. I have never met Mr. Bernstein, nor have I ever called him Uncle Lenny. However I do know many people who met Mr. Bernstein and were quite close to him. (Some of them did call him Lenny). It was Mr. Bernstein’s birthday this past Tuesday. I wish I could share with you some charming anecdotes about him (because at one time I thought I had some about Uncle Lenny) or write an essay about his influence on Classical Music (but I don’t have time to write a tome). Instead, I think I should let Mr. Bernstein do all the talking.
This will be our reply to violence:
to make music more intensely,
more devotedly than ever before.
Life without music is unthinkable.
Life without music is academic.
That is why my contact with music is a total embrace.
The key to the mystery of a great artist is that for reasons unknown, he will give away his energies and his life just to make sure that one note follows another…and leaves us with the feeling that something is right in the world.
In the olden days, everybody sang. You were expected to sing as well as talk. It was a mark of the cultured man to sing.
Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time… The wait is simply too long.
Any great art work … revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world – the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air