Leonard Bernstein
Larger Than Life
Director: Georg Wübbolt
Distributor: C Major Entertainment
Length: 52 min. / 45 min.
16:9 shot in HD-Cam
© 2015, a BFMI production in co-production with Unitel and ZDF / 3sat
Leonard Bernstein was America’s ambassador to the world. He in­spired an entire generation with his mu­sic en­sembles and sympho­ny or­chestras, was one of the most influ­ential classical mu­sicians of the last centu­ry. An influ­ential teach­er, a brilliant con­ductor, a fine compos­er, and an accomplished pian­ist. A uni­versal man, who lived five lives and who exuded pas­sion from ev­ery pore.

From the start, Leonard Bernstein was a determinedly colourful char­ac­ter, in­sis­tent on the lime­light, extrav­agant of ges­ture and emotion. A mu­sician of rare ta­l­ent who wowed his young fans with his flamboyant style and ped­agogic flair. His cre­ative gifts knew no bound­aries as he moved eas­ily from the podium, to the piano, to televi­sion. No oth­er mu­sician succeeded in arrest­ing the at­tention of entire America as much as Bernstein did with his televi­sion shows.

His role as an ed­ucator in sem­inars at Brandeis Uni­versity and in teach­ing at Tan­glewood had an im­me­diate appeal. He found and fas­cinated an even larg­er au­di­ence of young lis­teners on televi­sion shows as “Omnibus” and “Young People’s Concerts”.

His appear­ances as a con­ductor had great impact and brought about an excite­ment approach­ing frenzy due to his energy and emotion. His performances and record­ings also ush­ered in a revival of inter­est in the mu­sic of Gustav Mahler.

His fresh approach of interpreting pieces of mu­sic was rooted in his commit­ment to the compos­er, to find out what the gen­uine story of the compo­sition was. Al­though he was the first American-born con­ductor to receive worldwide fame and as much as he loved to conduct, he was drawn to compos­ing concurrently.

As a compos­er Bernstein made skilful use of di­verse el­e­ments where popular and se­rious mu­sic would blend. He could bridge gaps and break down barri­ers in an extraor­dinar­ily skilful and yet ac­cessible manner. His best-known works are the mu­sicals On the Town, Wonderful Town, Can­dide and West Side Story, written in collab­oration with Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins. Bernstein was a man who owed much to his Jewish heritage but he always struggled with a certain set of be­liefs and therefore addressed questions of faith in all of his re­ligious pieces like The Mass or the Chices­ter Psalms.

The film includes inter­views with the chil­dren of Leonard Bernstein: Jamie, Alexander and Nina Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Kent Nagano, Marin Alsop, Sir Pe­ter Jonas, Christoph Eschenbach, Norman Lebrecht, members of the Vi­enna Philharmon­ics, Craig Urquhart and many oth­ers.

Golden Prague Award
Czech Crystal Award
2016 Golden Prague
Category: Documentary
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
Bestenliste 3-2016
Category: DVD-Produktionen