Geroge Szell, Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 4

By Richard Wilson

Written for the concert Making Music: Composer-Conductors, performed on Feb 9, 2007 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.

George Andreas Szell was born in Budapest on June 7, 1897 and died in Cleveland on July 30, 1970. Growing up in Vienna, he studied music theory and composition with Eusebius Mandyczewski, J. B. Foerster, and Max Reger. Along with Rudolf Serkin and Clara Haskil, he became a piano student of Richard Robert. Szell made his professional piano debut at age eleven in a concert of his own compositions. On a tour at that same age, which led him to England, he was called “the next Mozart” by the Daily Mail—to which, in later life, Szell retorted: “Anyone can make a mistake.” Mistake or not, at age fourteen, he was signed to a ten-year exclusive publishing contract with Universal Edition in Vienna. When he was sixteen and vacationing with his parents in a summer resort, the local orchestral conductor injured his arm, prompting Szell to take over. In a moment of life-changing significance, he did so with remarkable success. At seventeen he made his debut in Berlin as pianist, composer, and conductor. The following year, he was chosen by Richard Strauss to join the staff of the Berlin Staatsoper. With successive posts in Prague, Darmstadt, Düsseldorf, and again in Berlin, Szell launched a career that would reach its highpoint in Cleveland, where he led that city’s orchestra from 1946 until his death, elevating it to world status. His activities as composer evidently ceased a few years after his apprenticeship with Strauss.

George Szell’s Variations on an Original Theme was composed in 1913. The theme, a gavotte, exhibits a simple and memorable melody; but its harmonization presents many surprises. Key changes from A to C to D-flat suggest the influence of Richard Strauss at his slipperiest, most flirtatious harmonic behavior.

Eleven variations ensue. Most reflect the binary phrase construction of the theme, with tempo as the key to the overall form. The relaxed opening speeds up through Variations Two and Three to reach a rapid pace in Four, Five, and Six which together form a unit. Variation Five is the free inversion of Four, and Six begins as a complete reprise of Four, then continues for nearly thirty bars of fresh material. After a clear pause (the first since the end of Variation Two), we hear with Variation Seven an explicit change of character: slow pace, triple rather than duple meter, legato rather than staccato style. The melody derives from the third, fourth, and fifth notes of the theme taken in reverse (retrograde) order. Variation Eight retains the slow tempo and triple meter. Nine is suddenly fast: a tarantella. Ten is again slow, with a move to the key of C-sharp minor. From this, the final variation emerges. It is back in the home key of A with the theme clearly stated. This variation is longer than all the rest and moves through a series of accelerations to a lively ending.

In addition to an entirely convincing formal design, the work exhibits a mastery of orchestration (note especially the exquisite use of horns in Variation Eight), doubly impressive in a teenage composer.

Making Music

By Leon Botstein

Written for the concert Making Music: Composer-Conductors, performed on Feb 9, 2007 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.

Compared to other fields of musical performance, conducting is a relatively recent and modern phenomenon as a primary activity for a musician. It became a common and widespread profession only towards the end of the nineteenth century. Hans von Bülow (1830-1894) is remembered as one of the founding fathers of professional conducting. His place in the history of music is secured by the elevated standards he brought to orchestral performance, primarily through his leadership of the legendary Meiningen Orchestra. But Bülow was also one of the great pianists of his age and (unsuccessfully) the author of a number of musical compositions. His best-known work, Nirvana, Op. 20 (1866) is a failed attempt at a Lisztian tone poem. In the generation following Bülow, Arthur Nikisch (1855-1922), one of the most alluring, seductive, and charismatic personalities of the podium, was heralded exclusively as a conductor, though he began his career as a violinist in the Vienna Philharmonic.

Despite the emergence of conducting in the twentieth century as a discrete profession in its own right, to this day conducting by its very nature, unlike other arenas of music performance, ought never properly be the sole pursuit of a musician. One may have a dream of being a conductor from the outset, but the craft, which despite skeptics demands distinct technical proficiency, cannot be mastered without a foundation in some other branch of music. Hans Keller, the legendary critic, violinist, and chamber music specialist, once wrote that there are three “phony” musical professions: conductor, critic, and violist. This wry remark was a perhaps somewhat exaggerated way of saying that to excel in any of these specializations, an individual has first to be accomplished in something else within music. In history (until extremely recently) the greatest violists began their careers as fine violinists. The most valuable and enduring criticism has been penned by composers. And most conductors have been accomplished instrumentalists, or composers, or in some cases (one thinks of Hermann Scherchen and Ernest Ansermet) theoreticians and scholars. Perhaps the most fruitful combination has been that of conducting and composition. Indeed, one might say that it is extremely difficult to become a conductor without experiencing the struggle of composition. To prepare a work for performance, a conductor needs to be able to think like a composer.

It is not surprising, therefore, that if one looks beneath the surface at the majority of successful conductors during the twentieth century, one will discover that they often had greater or lesser degrees of experience and exposure as composers. Tonight’s concert selects four individuals who did more than attempt composition; they all produced admirable bodies of work. They excelled in both arenas, and yet, in the careers of some of them, one may also find a degree of irony. Given the close connection between conducting and composing, some of them found themselves in something of a balancing act. As conducting evolved into the celebrated and celebrity-obsessed profession it is today, many composer-conductors had to make choices. Sometimes historical circumstances forced these choices upon them. In all cases, these composer-conductors experienced the symbiosis of composing and conducting, and at the same time, the unique difficulties these parallel pursuits create.

These ironic paradoxes were already presaged by the legendary conductor-composers who preceded them. Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss were of course renowned both for composing and conducting. Mahler complained that he had only the summers in which to compose, since he was so busy performing during the season, first in Vienna and later New York. Strauss, unlike Mahler, ultimately limited his activities as a conductor in order to find more time to compose. Another group of artists made a different choice. Wilhelm Furtwängler and Otto Klemperer are still honored as great conductors, so much so that veneration for them has inspired periodic attempts to revive the music they wrote which, however well-crafted and competent, has remained unpersuasive. But perhaps a more poignant case is that of Bruno Walter. This legendary conductor also composed, but unlike many of his contemporary colleagues, he had shown a good deal of promise early in his compositional career. After some early success, he lost his nerve in part owing to the absence of encouragement by his mentor, Mahler. At a concert two seasons ago, the American Symphony Orchestra gave the first modern performance of Bruno Walter’s First Symphony. Based on the success of that performance, the Symphony will shortly be available in its first commercial recording with NDR–Hamburg (where Walter and Mahler first met).

George Szell’s case is most closely analogous to that of Walter. Szell was a prodigy not only as pianist but as composer, almost rivaling the early success of Erich Wolfgang Korngold. He was the youngest of all of Max Reger’s pupils, and he was given a contract by the Viennese music publisher Universal at age fourteen. Like Walter, Szell’s compositions, which include chamber and orchestral music, show amazing facility. But despite acclaim, Szell came to a personal conclusion that his music was unoriginal and too derivative. Furthermore, his success as a conductor was so meteoric that he decided to concentrate on that, leaving his career as both composer and concert pianist behind. Although his music had been published with a prestigious firm, he never looked back. But did the rise of this great conductor have to mean the disappearance of perhaps an equally great composer? Chances are that you are familiar with Szell’s conducting—now hear him as a composer.

The case of Paul Kletzki is tragically different from those mentioned above. Kletzki is remembered as a highly respected conductor who once directed the orchestras of Liverpool, Dallas, and Bern, and who was a frequent guest with the Israel Philharmonic. But as a conductor he never achieved the postwar eminence that Szell did, and his career was genuinely damaged by the rise of Nazism and the Second World War. One of the reasons for this is that before 1939, Kletzki really focused on composition. In addition to the early success described in Timothy Jackson’s fine program notes, Kletzki was singled out as a young compositional talent by the conductor and great Liszt scholar Peter Raabe. Raabe championed the young Kletzki until the Nazis came to power, at which point Raabe joined them, eventually to became Strauss’s successor as head of the Reichsmusikkammer. The only Jewish composers whose reputations could outlast the conditions in Germany and Austria were established and internationally prominent figures such as Schoenberg and Kurt Weill. But Kletzki had too fragile a foothold. The fact that two of his primary advocates—Raabe and Furtwängler—collaborated with the Nazi regime and therefore abandoned his music made his situation even worse.

Timothy Jackson deserves a great deal of credit for the recent revival of interest in Kletzki’s music. My own interest in Kletzki, however, is also somewhat personal. He and his family were friends with my grandfather’s family. His was a name I heard as a child. I had the privilege of meeting him when he was conducting in Mexico and visited my uncle. I recall even then an aspect of resignation, if not bitterness, which the history of his career makes all too understandable. There has been a great deal of recent interest in those composers whose careers were cut short by the Holocaust. The trauma of displacement and suppression and, ironically, the good fortune of survival (only ten percent of prewar Polish Jewry survived), brought Kletzki to a comprehensible but compelling condition: that of silence. It is my hope that this performance of his Violin Concerto will assist the overdue reexamination of Kletzki’s achievement as a composer.

The two remaining composer-conductors on tonight’s program are American Jews. Harold Farberman, to whom I owe a personal debt of gratitude as my teacher, was born into a family of Klezmer musicians on the Lower East Side. A wunderkind percussionist, he became the Boston Symphony’s youngest member when he was barely twenty. During his tenure in Boston, he turned to both composition and conducting. One of his operas, The Losers, was chosen to open the Juilliard Opera Theater. As a conductor, he was an early champion of the music of Charles Ives. He became the chief conductor of the Oakland Symphony and guest conducted throughout Europe. In the 1970s, he turned his attention to the teaching and training of conductors. He founded the Conductors Guild, and in the early 1980s, the Conductors Institute. He is the author of one of the leading conducting textbooks, The Art of Conducting Technique. Among those who have studied with him are Marin Alsop, Paavo Jarvi, and Guillermo Figueroa, music director of the Puerto Rico and New Mexico Symphonies. The work on tonight’s program is a new work that brings into focus Farberman’s unique command of percussion instruments.

Finally, there is perhaps the most familiar composer-conductor of all to the present generation of American audiences: Leonard Bernstein. Like Szell, Bernstein was a fantastic pianist. Indeed, he played the piano part in the Second Symphony in its initial performances, though the pianist most commonly associated with this work is Lukas Foss—yet another example of a supremely multi-talented musician with powerful accomplishments as a composer, pianist, and conductor.

Bernstein’s career is perhaps the most complicated example of the difficulty active conductors have encountered maintaining a parallel life as a composer. Bernstein pursued both avenues at full throttle, as it were. If that were not enough, he wrote not only concert music, but theater and film music as well. He also tried his hand at writing about music. His most famous composition is certainly West Side Story (1957), but there is as well a large body of work in the classical concert tradition. Bernstein’s so-called “serious” compositions have been the subject of widely divergent criticism. Many of his works reveal a dimension of imitation. If Szell’s music reminds one of Strauss, much of Bernstein’s music evokes Copland. Nevertheless, there are in Bernstein’s canon of music for the concert stage works that are original and justifiably celebrated. These include the Serenade (1954) and tonight’s offering, the Second Symphony (1949/65).

But perhaps the most remarkable dimension of Bernstein’s achievement, apart from his brilliance as a conductor and composer, is the role that he played as a musician in the public sphere. Blessed with an incredible intelligence, eloquence, and the privilege of a fine education (including an undergraduate degree from Harvard), Bernstein became the last century’s most powerful advocate for the importance of great music as an indispensable part of the culture of American democracy. His use of television, his activities as a mentor, and the superstardom he achieved in part through his charismatic personality and the success of West Side Story, made him an inspiration for generations of young Americans, incipient professionals, and audience members alike.

Paul Kletzki, Violin Concerto, Op. 19

By Timothy L. Jackson, PhD, Professor of Music Theory, University of North Texas

Written for the concert Making Music: Composer-Conductors, performed on Feb 9, 2007 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.

Born in 1900 in Łódž as Pavel Klecki, Paul Kletzki (the Germanicized form of his name) became famous after the Second World War as a distinguished conductor. An accomplished violinist from a middle-class Polish-Jewish family in Łódž, at nine Kletzki received his first lessons from Madame Schindler-Süss, a student of Joseph Joachim. A wunderkind on the violin, in 1915 he became the youngest member of the Symphony Orchestra. In 1919, he left Łódž to study philosophy at the University of Warsaw, and, at the Warsaw Conservatory, became a composition student of Jules de Wertheim (Julius von Wertheim), joining the conducting class of Emil Mlynarski. In 1921, Kletzki moved to Berlin to continue his compositional studies at the Hochschule für Musik under Ernst Friedrich Koch. At this time, Kletzki met Wilhelm Furtwängler with whom he studied informally. Between 1925 and 1933, he conducted his own orchestral pieces with the Berlin Philharmonic and other first-class German orchestras.

In 1932, Furtwängler selected Kletzki to become a principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. Kletzki’s first concert was to have taken place on March 21, 1933; but because of the anti-Semitic racial policies of the new Nazi regime, he was prevented from conducting and publishing his music. A 1933 press release issued by the record company Telefunken reproduced a letter from Furtwängler (dating from 1931) where he praises Kletzki “not only as a specially talented composer, but also as one of the few talented musical conductors of the young generation who have a great future ahead of them.” Concerning the young Kletzki, Toscanini also weighed in: “I estimate very highly Paul Kletzki as composer and conductor and have the best opinion of his capacities.” The two most distinguished German music publishers—Simrock (publisher of Beethoven and Brahms, among others) and Breitkopf und Härtel—brought out all of Kletzki’s music from Op. 1 through 27. Kletzki’s chamber music for strings includes four quartets, as well as a piano trio. He also composed three virtuoso works for the violin: the Sonata in D major for Piano and Violin, Op. 12 (1924); the Introduction und Rondo for Violin and Piano, Op. 21 (1930); and the Sonata for Violin Solo, Op. 26 (1933); all of which pose immense technical and musical challenges for the instrument.

In 1933, Kletzki left Germany permanently for Italy. However, Italy became too dangerous, and Kletzki fled to Switzerland. In 1941, he packed many scores of his own music in two large wooden boxes, which he left in the basement of the Hotel Metropole in Milan. In October 1942, the hotel was bombed and burned virtually to the ground; thus, Kletzki believed that his personal copies of his scores had been destroyed. At the same time, he thought that his Nazified German publishers had destroyed his music. In a newspaper interview published in Australia in 1948, Kletzki observed bitterly “that even the copperplates from which my music was lithographed in Germany were melted down.” He explained that his post-war compositional silence emanated from “The shock of all that Hitlerism meant [which] destroyed also in me the spirit and will to compose.” In 1965, in the course of some excavations in Milan, the chest was discovered and returned. At this time, Kletzki was afraid to open it believing that all his scores had turned to dust. It was not until after his death in 1973 that his wife Yvonne opened the chest and found his music to be perfectly preserved. The full score of the Violin Concerto with Kletzki’s corrections and performance annotations was preserved in this way. Madame Kletzki has devoted her life to collecting her husband’s scores and resurrecting his music, an effort being continued by the present writer.

Kletzki’s Violin Concerto, Op. 22, must be considered in the context of a series of large-scale orchestral pieces that date back at least to 1923, if not earlier. The first published orchestral work, the Sinfonietta for String Orchestra, Op. 7, appeared in 1923. Three years later, Kletzki published his Vorspiel zu einer Tragödie, Op. 14. Simrock brought out the First Symphony, Op. 17, in 1927, immediately followed by the Second Symphony, Op. 18, in 1928. In 1929, Kletzki produced his Orchestervariationen, Op. 20, which was succeeded by Capriccio, Op. 24, a work for large orchestra in 1931. Kletzki’s last published orchestral piece was his Konzertmusik, Op. 25, for solo winds, strings, and timpani, which appeared in 1932. During his years of exile, Kletzki completed the Lyric Suite for Orchestra, Op. 30 (1938), Third Symphony, Op. 31 (1939), and Variations sur un thème de Emile Jacques Dalcroize, Op. 33 (1940) for string orchestra, all of which remained unpublished. Interspersed with this orchestral writing are the three large concertos: the Violin Concerto, Op. 19 (1928), the Piano Concerto, Op. 22 (1930), and the Flute Concertino, Op. 34 (1940). A closer examination of all of these scores reveals a series of extremely powerful works documenting a remarkable stylistic evolution.

Prior to 1933, Kletzki’s Violin Concerto was performed by the world-famous violinist Georg Kulenkampf at least fifteen times all over Germany. The composer’s reduction for violin and piano was first presented on Israel Radio’s “Voice of Music” in 2004 by Robert Davidovici and Heejung Kang; the orchestral version receives its post-World War II premiere on tonight’s program.

In almost all of the outer movements throughout his work, Kletzki employs sonata form, as he does in the Concerto’s initial movement and the Finale. The work begins with a quiet opening theme (Allegro moderato), which recurs motto-like throughout the first movement. The agitated second subject (ff, Poco più sostenuto) in the violin’s lowest register is accompanied by angry chordal outbursts in the orchestra. The development, initiated by an extended orchestral passage (ppp, molto espressivo e cantabile) that recalls both the first and second subjects, climaxes in a stretto presentation of the motto theme in diminution. Since the beginning of the development had focused upon the opening music, the initial material is greatly abridged in the reprise, only the second subject being clearly profiled. A colossal cadenza leads into a quiet recall of the opening motto, and a bravura coda concludes the movement.

The lyrical second movement (Andante espressivo) is based on a very similar sonata design as the first, albeit much compressed. Here the “tentative” and “searching” opening theme in the solo violin contrasts with the “comforting” and “answering” second subject in the orchestra (pp). Since the opening idea is so clearly profiled at the beginning of the development (now in the solo violin’s upper register), its reprise is replaced by the passionate (sempre ff) highly dissonant outbursts by the soloist and orchestra. The final “answer” is provided both by the return of the second subject and the ethereal coda. In the Finale (Allegro giocoso), with its playful use of “academic” forms such as fugue (in the opening subject), Kletzki is clearly having fun; the dedication of the Violin Concerto to the tenor Richard Taube, well known by the 1920s not only for his comic roles in “serious” opera but also in operetta, may be reflected in the humorous allusions to cabaret music in the second subject (Meno mosso, quasi l’istesso tempo).

Kletzki’s Violin Concerto is a tonal piece, albeit a highly adventurous tonality. Indeed, we may describe the extended tonal language of Kletzki’s music in the late 1920s as a “super-complex tonality,” which generates highly intricate harmonic-contrapuntal textures pushing the envelope of the performers’ technique and musicianship to the limit; his music, composed for virtuosi, approaches and sometimes even exceeds the boundaries of the technically possible. With the large-scale orchestral piece Capriccio (1931), Kletzki would soon dispense completely with key signatures and cross over into his own unique brand of “post-tonal tonality,” which would be further explored in the Lyric Suite, Third Symphony, Flute Concertino, and the other “late” pieces composed in exile.

Harold Farberman, Double Concerto for Violin and Percussion

By Harold Farberman

Written for the concert Making Music: Composer-Conductors, performed on Feb 9, 2007 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.

The “Double Concerto” was born of affection and admiration for Guillermo Figueroa. It was composed in 2005-2006. It is a work I wanted to create.

We became close friends when Guillermo became interested in learning to conduct. A measure of his musical abilities is that while his skills as an extraordinary violinist have remained intact, he has also excelled as a conductor and is currently the music director of two first-rate orchestras.

When I first began planning a “Concerto for Guillermo” I decided that each of the three movements would be a musical portrait of the Figueroa family: Movement One–Guillermo; Movement Two–the children; Movement Three–Valerie and Guillermo. It soon became clear to me that the second movement—the children’s movement—would need more than a single voice (in fact, three instruments would have been perfect), but instead I opted for one more solo voice. So Guillermo’s Concerto morphed into a “Double Concerto”

Given my background, the choice for the second solo instrument was never in doubt. The pairing of a percussionist and a violinist as concerto partners intrigued me on several levels. I was (and am) not personally aware that a violin/percussion double concerto exists, but was (and am!) very aware of the potential hazards of such a pairing. Ultimately the challenge was the decisive factor in choosing a percussionist as the second soloist.

Because of the nature of the work, one compositional factor should be pointed out. I chose to create all musical motives and subsidiary themes from the given names of the family members. For example the letter G becomes the pitch “G.” Beyond “A” through “G” the letter “H” becomes “A,” the letter “I” becomes “B,” the letter “J” becomes “C,” etc. Repetitions of pitches (name letters) are moved upward or downward by half steps, depending on the musical text.

Movement One: for Guillermo

Both solo instruments represent the young and maturing Guillermo—sensitive, bold, energetic, and finally, contemplative of the future.

Movement Two: for the childrena scherzo

Imagine three children at play—loud, spirited, sometimes spiteful (“tag [shove]-you’re it”). Finally a moment of respite, and parents remember. . .Suddenly, energy restored, chaos.

Movement Three: Valerie and Guillermo

Husband/wife, family and both sides of life, anger and love. A final contemplation of a different future.

The Concerto bears the following dedication: “To Guillermo and the Music in his life: Valerie, Giovanna, Sofia, Valerie.”

Leonard Bernstein, Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety”

By Carol J. Oja, Professor of Music, Harvard University

Written for the concert Making Music: Composer-Conductors, performed on Feb 9, 2007 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.

Leonard Bernstein delighted in juxtaposing the epic and the everyday, linking classics with the vernacular. Think of Candide (1956), which transported to Broadway Voltaire’s now-classic eighteenth-century novel about the folly of reaching for utopias. Think of West Side Story (1957), which turned Shakespeare’s tragedy into a vehicle for exploring the plight of Puerto Rican immigrants in the urban jungle.

Such was also the case with Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety” (1949). For it, Bernstein found inspiration in an extended poem by W. H. Auden, which was subtitled “A Baroque Eclogue,” achieving its own modern-classic blend. A reflection on youth and hedonism, with the very recent war as an ominous backdrop, Auden reshaped the classical poetic tradition of the “eclogue”—or a dialogue among shepherds—as a discussion among four people who are drinking heavily in a New York bar. Auden’s protagonists (three men and one woman) are caught in the war’s web, and they’re also intensely narcissistic, navigating the balance between individual needs and greater social crises. The poem won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948, and its title came to symbolize the angst of the entire post-war period.

Bernstein wrote of having a “personal identification” with Auden’s poem, of finding it “fascinating and hair-raising,” of perceiving it as a “record of our difficult search for faith.” He had been savoring Auden’s writing since at least 1937, when he and Adolph Green counted it among their “shared joys” during a summer of working together as camp counselors in the Berkshires. (Green, of course, later joined Betty Comden to become lyricist for two of Bernstein’s shows.) That same summer, Bernstein also reconnected with the music of Gershwin, devising a little-known arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue for the camp kids. Perhaps these fragments of earlier experience fused in Symphony No. 2. This “symphony with piano solo,” as Bernstein termed it, follows the broad structural outline of Auden’s poem. But its episodic form smacks more of the free-range concept behind Gershwin’s Rhapsody than of any conventional symphony or concerto.

Bernstein’s narrative for the Symphony was psychoanalytic and unfolds as follows. It too adheres to Auden’s poem, at the same time as Bernstein claimed not to have intended such a closely related narrative.

Part I

In “The Prologue,” “four lonely characters” sit in a bar, beginning “a kind of symposium on the state of man,” and in “The Seven Ages” they review “the life of man from four personal points of view.” The latter is constructed of unusual variations, in which each builds on a feature (rather than a common theme) of the previous one. Variations continue to animate “The Seven Stages” in which the characters drift into a “dream-odyssey” and emerge “closely united through a common experience (and through alcohol).”

Part II

In “The Dirge,” the four are in a cab, mourning the loss of a collective father figure, “the great leader who can always . . . shoulder the mass responsibility” and also “give the right orders.” Their “lamentation,” Bernstein wrote, is “strangely pompous.” They are in the girl’s apartment for “The Masque,” where they overcome their “guilt” about simply wanting to have a party, despite the surrounding devastation of war. In “The Epilogue,” they discover “what is left is faith.”

The initial performance history of Bernstein’s Symphony darts across the core points on his personal map, from Israel to Boston and Tanglewood, then New York. The Symphony’s “Dirge” had its premiere in Tel Aviv in 1948 by the Israel Philharmonic, the orchestra with which Bernstein forged such a close alliance after the war. Bernstein’s hometown mentor Serge Koussevitzky conducted the premiere of the entire Symphony in April 1949 (the work was also dedicated to him), and it was repeated at Tanglewood that August. For all these, Bernstein was at the piano. He seized the baton for the New York Philharmonic’s first performance of the work in February 1950, with Lukas Foss as pianist. Three days later the New York City Ballet unveiled a staging of it with choreography by Jerome Robbins. Bernstein revised Symphony No. 2 in 1965, bringing the piano more prominently into the final movement; that is the version heard on this program.