Text Box: Conductor autographs


Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247


Price: $175.00



Autographed one page program excerpt of a Carnegie Hall program for the Vienna Philharmonic performance, November 15, 1979.  Conductor Leonard Bernstein has autographed at the top, along with the three leads from the second part of the program, a performance of Act II highlights from “Tristan und Isolde”, tenor Jess Thomas, soprano Gwynneth Jones and mezzo-soprano Nancy Williams.  We offer with an original Steven J. Sherman 8” x 10” glossy press photograph of Bernstein.


Martin Feinstein, the Executive Director of the Kennedy Center approached the Vienna Philharmonic and Staatsoper to come to American and present opera and symphonic works in Washington, D.C.  The Vienna Philharmonic had made their American debut in 1956 at Carnegie Hall and then returned in 1959, 1967 and did not appear until nearly a decade later in 1976. The Staatsoper had never come to the United States albeit, the Metropolitan Opera under Rudolf Bing in the 1950’s hired a number of their stars. Vienna finally agreed and a 17 day set of programs was created for Washington beginning on October 26, 1979, including 3 symphonic concerts and several operas including, “Ariadne auf Naxos”, “Fidelio”, “Le Nozze di Figaro” and “Salome”. Karl Böhm and Zubin Mehta were the conductors for the Washington performances except for the opening night of “Fidelio” on the 27th which was led by Leonard Bernstein.  The Austrian Chancellor was there for the first night of “Fidelio”.  It was then arranged that the orchestra and some of the singers would travel to New York City for three performances led by Leonard Bernstein.  The first New York performance on November 12th was held at Avery Fisher Hall, a concert version of “Fidelio”, followed by a performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the same cast as our program of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on the 14th and our program on the 15th. 


“New York Times” critic Raymond Ericson described the performance of the Beethoven Pastoral as ...the evening’s special glory....Mr. Bernstein's conducting was restrained, but beneath the calm surface he produced a thousand nuances to give the music life and color.  The playing was quite extraordinary, contributing superbly to the quiet eloquence of the performance. The warm, mellow sound of the orchestra almost wrapped itself around the listener. It was at once firm and benign.


When it came to the “Tristan und Isolde”, The Wagner went well enough. If made its familiar impact, it was because the music itself, chopped up though it was, is so gorgeous. Mr. Bernstein started with the Introduction to Act II, continued with Tristan's entrance and then took leaps and bounds through the great Love Duet. Included along the way was Brangäne's Warning. He was not as charitable to the singers, Miss Jones and Mr. Thomas, who have been singing steadily with the Vienna Philharmonic here, tackled their music sensitively. They often made handsome sounds, particularly when their voices were cushioned by the plushier portions of the score. Complete vocal control was beyond them, however, with tones being unsupported, and in a few places the singing was not quite accurate. For her part, Miss Williams sang the Warning nicely, but hers is not really a Brangäne voice.


Perfect for display with the photograph!