Deutsche Grammophon recently released their first-ever recording of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass - an appropriate choice marking the composer’s centennial year. While many music lovers may be quick to recognize Bernstein hits such as themes from West Side Story or the overture to Candide, not everyone is acquainted with Mass. I myself have never seen the piece performed, and am thrilled that Cincinnati’s May Festival Chorus will perform it as part of their 2018 Festival on May 19. WGUC will also broadcast this performance on October 14 at 8pm.
Bernstein’s Mass was commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the inauguration of the Kennedy Center in 1971. In it, the composer fuses together religious and secular elements. Don’t be fooled by its title – Mass is certainly not traditional. Bernstein uses a rock band, marching band, several choirs, and more making it quite the spectacle. This album features a performance from Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra and is an essential addition to the library of any true Bernstein devotee.