Leonard Bernstein And The New York Philharmonic Play Music Of Haydn And Bruckner 1976 – Mid-Week Concert

Leonard Bernstein - Another legendary concert this week.
Leonard Bernstein – Another legendary concert this week.

New York Philharmonic – Leonard Bernstein, Conductor – June 22, 1976 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

More history this week, with a concert from the New York Philharmonic featuring the legendary Leonard Bernstein at the podium – from a broadcast on June 22, 1976.

Only two works make up the complete concert this week; Haydn: Symphony Number 102 and Bruckner’s Symphony Number 6.

Although Bernstein was no longer Music Director of the Philharmonic, he still frequently appeared as Conductor Laureate all throughout the remainder of his stellar career.

This particular performance of the Bruckner 6th was available for a short time via a New York Philharmonic box set (although this one comes from the original broadcast tapes). Otherwise, Bernstein never recorded it commercially. Only the 6th and the 9th symphonies were played under Bernstein, but only the 9th was recorded commercially by him. Bruckner fans have run the gamut in their opinions of his interpretation of Bruckner – from very good to very bland. The thing about classical music is the vast numbers of interpretations, or points of view, that go along with them. Unlike other music genres, Classical Music is much like a play – the notes (and the words) are mixed in stone, but it’s how the artist and the orchestra looks at it and what they see in it that makes it a different experience every time it’s heard.

Aside from the fact that the music itself is timeless (Beethoven has been around for a couple hundred years and is still listened to in awe), what the musicians bring to it takes it to another level – and in part what keeps it fresh. Just as in literature (and film) there are no new stories – what keeps it all alive are the points of view which tackle them.

And so for that reason, fans of the music of Anton Bruckner and those who have heard Leonard Bernstein’s take on this performance vary greatly. And that’s perfectly okay.

But all that aside, here is your chance to listen and get your own opinion together – how you feel about.

And if nothing else – here’s a concert to take you out of the madness of the day. Listen and enjoy.

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  1. I actually remember hearing this June 22, 1976 broadcast on Seattle’s classical station KING-FM, as I tape recorded the presentation using a newly-acquired Sansui SC-2000 cassette deck. I still have the cassette of the Bruckner. It’s comforting to hear Martin Bookspan’s narrative guidance. I thoroughly enjoyed the Bruckner, but this concert reading of Haydn’s Symphony No. 102 is flat and lifeless compared with Bernstein’s commercially-released Sony (formerly Columbia Masterworks) recording. Fortunately, your copy of the over-the-air FM broadcast has somewhat better sound than my almost-39-year-old cassette dubs although they are still surprisingly listenable.

  2. Thank you very much for posting this, and the other 1970s NY Philharmonic Bernstein performance (Britten, Schuman, and Schumann). I enjoyed listening to both immensely. I had the Bruckner from the NY Box set but I always appreciate Martin Bookspan’s commentary. It makes me feel like I’m listening live. If you have any other NY Phil from this era, I would love to hear it!

    • Yes, I do – I was regularly recording NYPO during this period, until the switch from KPFK to KUSC and gap of several months. But there will be more – much more. I promise.


  3. Also, for anyone interested, the concert was recorded on one of the following dates: March 25, 26, 27, 30, 1976.

    • Any correct dates are always appreciated, since what I usually get are broadcast dates, which are weeks, if not months away from the actual event. Thanks again!

    • Thanks for that. I think, because this was a bicycled tape (as opposed to direct feed), everyone ran it at different times around the country. Of course, was that a live broadcast? If so, that would make a huge difference.

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