Leonard Bernstein conducts West Side Story

Looking for a diversion?

Something to make your heart soar?

Something to lift your spirits?

Something to keep you on the edge of your seat with joyful anticipation?

Something to leave you singing and maybe even dancing?

Well, have I got a deal for you.

Leonard Bernstein wrote the music for West Side Story in 1957 but had never conducted it until 1984. He wanted to record it, baton in hand and with his own carefully chosen soloists and musicians. This “documentary” is the making of that recording. It is gripping, astounding, fearsome and beautiful, all at once.

Yes, it’s an hour and half long. But you won’t be bored.

There’s nothing quite like the clashing of bigger-than-life-egos to keep you glued to your seat. Most of it takes place in a bare-bones sound studio (with just a couple of peeks into Bernstein’s Manhattan apartment). There’s the music we all know so well, sung simply into microphones. No costumes. No makeup. No sets. Just pure unadulterated sound from ordinary looking people with extraordinary voices. Striving to get it right for all time.

For the Mister and me, it was spellbinding. And a sorely needed and most welcome relief from other matters. If you want to give it a try, for even a few minutes, you can watch it here!

Image courtesy of npr.org