West Side Story

The Musical DNA of ‘West Side Story’

Every great artist knows that at some point, you steal the works of others and make it your own…

No piece serves as a better introduction to Leonard Bernstein’s compositions than West Side Story.

Unpacking the DNA of his music is a subject that’s been tackled in books, documentaries, music theory classes, and dissertations ever since the show hit Broadway in 1957.

Here is an introduction to some of what makes West Side Story the work of genius that it is.

Sources:
  • Leonard Bernstein: An American Musician, by Allen Shawn
  • The Leonard Bernstein Letters, ed. Nigel Simeone
  • The Rest is Noise, by Alex Ross
  • Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story, by Nigel Simeone
Recordings:
  • West Side Story, Artist: Original cast album
  • Huapango (Moncayo), Artist: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Enrique Batiz, conductor
  • Shofar calls, Artist: B.W. de Jong (Netherlands Jewish Main Synagogue, Amsterdam)
  • Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 5, Artist: Krystian Zimerman, piano; Vienna Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein, conductor
  • Beethoven – Grosse Fuge, Artist: Cleveland Quartet
  • El Balaju, Artist: Grupo Mono Blanco
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