London Symphony Orchestra; Sir Simon Rattle, conductor; Krystian Zimerman, piano
It all started with Aunt Clara. One day, she discarded her old piano and left it in the house of her brother, Samuel Bernstein. From that moment on, his son, the sick, pale Lenny, changed completely. “Suddenly I found my world,” recalled Bernstein. “I became very strong inside and became athletic and won medals and cups for diving. It all happened together and that changed my life. Because you see the secret of it is I found a universe where I was secure: that’s music.” And so he rose to become not only a celebrated star conductor but also a sensationally successful composer. For example, with his Second Symphony, The Age of Anxiety, a piano concerto in disguise, which the Bernstein admirer Sir Simon Rattle has chosen for his concert marking the 100th anniversary of the master. The soloist will be none other than the great Krystian Zimerman, Bernstein’s favorite pianist during his final years. In the second half, Rattle will indulge his love of Czech music with Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances and Janáček’s Sinfonietta.