Three Dance Episodes from On The Town : Work information
- Leonard Bernstein ( Music, Images,)
- Performed by
- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Carl Davis (Conductor)
- Work name
- Three Dance Episodes from On The Town
- Work number
- 1944-00-00 02:00:00
- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
- Matthew Dilley
- Richard Millard
- Recording date
Born in Lawrence, Massachussetts, Leonard Bernstein studied piano and composition at Harvard University before enroling at the Curtis Institute in 1939. However it was at Tanglewood summer school that he was to meet one of his most significant influences, conductor Serge Koussevitsky. From 1942 on he acted as Koussevitsky's assistant, and by this time conducting had become a focus for his driving ambition. After replacing an indisposed Bruno Walter at short notice, Bernstein's conducting career took off, with engagements in Boston and Philadelphia leading to offers from around the world.
A parallel career as a composer was cemented by the performance of his First Symphony (Jeremiah) in 1944, along with the ballet Fancy Free, the first of many stage works. Bernstein used the same scenario of sailors on shore leave for his first Broadway show, On the Town, which ran for 463 performances. In 1957 Bernstein's West Side Story hit the stage, and the ensuing film made it his most popular work. Its blending of new musical techniques with popular and jazz stylings mirrored both the efforts of "Third Stream" composers and jazz artists such as Miles Davis.
Bernstein was a great musical educator, giving many televised lectures structured to appeal to the younger generation, and promoting much work by new composers. He also returned to Tanglewood summer school to encourage new talent. In addition he was commited to reviving the music of Gustav Mahler, whose mix of sincerity and irony he was ideally suited to conducting.
After the wild successes of the previous decades, Bernstein's later years provided fewer satisfying compositions. However, his conducting career continued up to his death in 1990, giving concerts in Berlin the previous year to mark the fall of the Berlin wall.
The success of Bernstein's ballet Fancy Free in 1944 prompted Oliver Smith, set designer for the ballet, to suggest turning it into a musical. Jerome Robbins agreed to choreograph and Bernstein brought Betty Comden and Adolph Green on board to write the lyrics. The result was On the Town.
Like Fancy Free, On the Town tells the story of three sailors and their amarous adventures on a. 24-hour shore-leave in New York City. The musical opened on Broadway on 28 December 1944 and was soon turned into an MGM film starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
Featuring great songs like New York, New York..it's a hell'uva town, On the Town was a huge success and ran for 463 performances. Bernstein later extracted Three Dance Episodes from the score: The Great Lover and Lonely Town depicts Gabey, the romantic dreamer, and his search for the perfect girl; Times Sqaure, from Act I's conclusion, is an exuberant celebration of New York city life.