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In this year of Leonard Bernstein’s centenary, Sony Classical is pleased to present a special edition of his American Columbia recordings from the 1950s and 60s. Many of the conductor-composer’s most celebrated interpretations and works are collected here on these 15 carefully chosen original albums on 16 CDs.

There is, of course, the still-astonishing album that launched Leonard Bernstein’s international reputation as the most dynamic and charismatic conductor of his era, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring recorded in January 1958 – two months after his appointment as the youngest music director in the New York Philharmonic’s history. Reviewing a 2013 reissue, declared: “It has an excitement, spontaneity, and primal fury that no other version quite matches.”

The Bernstein recording that launched the “Mahler Renaissance” in the 1960s is also here: his Third Symphony with the New York Philharmonic, which has arguably never been surpassed. Ditto for Carl Nielsen, whose great symphonies Bernstein brought to a wide new public with interpretations like his NYP recording of the Fifth, perhaps the most thrilling account of this 20th-century masterpiece ever committed to disc. His magnificent recording of Nielsen’s Third with the Royal Danish Orchestra is also included.

And while we’re talking about Third Symphonies, Bernstein’s “Eroica” still sounds “wonderfully vibrant” (Gramophone) a half century after its first release. There are also his Beethoven overtures (“marvelous” – as well as Dvořák’s most popular symphony – “There’s no such thing as a ‘definitive’ recording [of the New World], but if there were, this one would come close to that imagined ideal” (ClassicsToday) – and two from Haydn’s magnificent “Paris” set: “It’s debatable whether there have been better performances” (ClassicalNet).

The great concerto recordings here include Beethoven’s Third and “Emperor” with Rudolf Serkin(“Serkin’s tensile, muscular pianism … makes a visceral impact that perfectly suits the defiant qualities that characterize middle-period Beethoven” – ClassicsToday).

Bernstein himself conducts and plays Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (“The one indispensable recording of this familiar work, paired with an equally fine American in Paris” – New York Times). Bernstein the pianist also accompanies Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, at the peak of his matchless career, in an acclaimed album of Mahler lieder. The ballets Rodeo and Billy the Kid by Bernstein’s mentor and friend Aaron Copland are included: “Even the composer couldn't make [them] dance the way Bernstein does” (New York Times).

Bernstein the composer is also generously represented. The original Broadway cast recording of Candide from 1956 is included, as is the definitive version of his most famous work: the original Broadway cast recording of West Side Story from 1957. And there are two classic mono record premieres from the 50s, Bernstein conducting his Second Symphony, “The Age of Anxiety”, with fellow composer Lukas Foss as piano soloist, and the Serenade, with violinist Isaac Stern.

The masterings in this new collection are the best ever issued of these thrilling recordings by one of the last century’s greatest musicians, selected from the recent Leonard Bernstein - The Composer and Leonard Bernstein – Remastered editions,. Sony Classical’s new 16-CD Leonard Bernstein edition is the perfect introduction to the work of this American genius.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major, Op. 55 "Eroica"

Beethoven: Die Weihe des Hauses Overture, Op. 124
Beethoven: King Stephen Overture, Op. 117
Beethoven: Fidelio Overture, Op. 72b
Beethoven: Egmont Overture, Op. 84
Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72a

Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major, Op. 73 "Emperor" Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Beethoven: Concerto No. 3 in C Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 37 Rudolf Serkin (Piano)

Bernstein: The Age of Anxiety - Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra Lukas Foss (Piano)
Bernstein: Serenade for Violin, Strings and Percussion

Bernstein: West Side Story (Original Broadway Cast) Max Gobermann (conductor)

Bernstein: Candide

Copland: Rodeo
Copland: Billy the Kid

Dvorák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95 "From the New World"

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue Leonard Bernstein (Piano)
Gershwin: An American in Paris
Grofé: Grand Canyon Suite

DISC 10:
Haydn: Symphony No. 82 in C Major, Hob. I: 82 "The Bear"
Haydn: Symphony No. 83 in G Minor, Hob. I:83 "La Poule"

DISC 11:
Mahler: Four Songs from Rückert-Lieder Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Mahler: Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jugendzeit Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Mahler: Phantasie aus Don Juan Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Mahler: Erinnerung Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Mahler: Ich ging mit Lust durch einen grünen Wald Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Mahler: Frühlingsmorgen Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)

DISC 12:
Mahler: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (Part I)

DISC 13:
Mahler: Symphony No. 3 in D Minor (Part II)

DISC 14:
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, K. 453 Leonard Bernstein (Piano)
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 15 in B-Flat Major, K. 450 Leonard Bernstein (Piano)

DISC 15:
Nielsen: Symphony No. 3, Op. 27 "Sinfonia espansiva"
Nielsen: Symphony No. 5, Op. 50

DISC 16:
Stravinksy: Le sacre du printemps (1913 Version)

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