I am so very excited to announce that my in-depth paper, Leonard Bernstein’s “The Age of Anxiety, Symphony No. 2 (after W.H. Auden)”: History and Analysis, is finally online for viewing! Just click the aforementioned link!
Bernstein’s Second Symphony is one of my most favorite works.
In his Prefatory Note of the score, Bernstein says: “No one could be more astonished than I at the extent to which the programmaticism of this work has been carried…I was merely writing a symphony inspired by a poem and following the general form of that poem. Yet, when each section was finished I discovered, upon re-reading, detail after detail of programmatic relation to the poem – details that had ‘written themselves’…I have a suspicion that every work I write, for whatever medium, is really theater music in some way, and nothing has convinced me more than these new discoveries of the unconscious hand that has been at work all along in The Age of Anxiety.”
In exploring Auden’s poem, upon which Bernstein so passionately based his Symphony, we gain a deeper and startling understanding of Bernstein’s ingenious musical depiction of Auden’s allegorical personifications of the human psyche, spirituality, and the search for faith. The music itself I find absolutely gripping and clever and intense, but, beyond that, when given a closer look, it is the finer details of the notes themselves and their musical-theorietical relationships with each other, that brings Bernstein’s love of and personal connection to the work to great light.
It was a joy to come in contact with this again! I hope you enjoy the contemplative exploration as well! 🙂