Leonard Bernstein - Fancy Free & Dybbuk, 2 Ballets on 1-CD (Nashville Symphony Orchestra)
Composer: Bernstein, Leonard
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Two complete ballets on one CD. The ballet Dybbuk was Bernstein’s fourth and final collaboration with choreographer Jerome Robbins. Written to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the state of Israel, the plot concerns the battle between good and evil. In contrast, the symphonically-conceived ballet Fancy Free follows three sailors on shore leave in New York for 24 hours. When it was premièred in 1944 it brought Bernstein his first major public success as a composer. Featuring baritone Mel Ulrich, Mark Risinger bass and Andrew Mogrelia as conductor.
Composed 30 years apart--Fancy Free in 1944 and Dybbuk in 1974--these two ballets by Leonard Bernstein are wondrous works. The angular Dybbuk, about a spirit that tries to enter the body of a living being, is a tale of good versus evil. Much of the music is ominous and eerie; percussion and woodwinds are used effectively as disturbances, with brass interjecting pointedly. The more lyrical moments are short-lived and welcome. A variation called "Demon" in Part Three is oddly reminiscent of a dance from West Side Story. Fancy Free, which involves three sailors on leave in New York, is a completely different story. Slick rhythms, pop-music sounds, bright strings, and brass all evoke the wonders of youth and young love in the exciting city. The playing of the Nashville Symphony under Andrew Mogrelia is remarkable, with sharp attacks and a clear eye toward the fact that this is really music to dance to. A splendid recording.