Like Brahms, Bernstein lived his life in the shadows of masters who came before him. Yet both men, despite their tendency toward self-criticism, created their own legends. Bernstein's extraordinary talent as a conductor made him so much more--he became an ambassador of music, bringing vitality and excitement to audiences young and old, from all walks of life.
Though his Symphony no. 1 is one of his most well-known compositions, Brahms was not always comfortable with the idea of writing symphonies. His deep respect for Beethoven's work is evident, and even Brahms admitted the composer's profound influence on his first symphony. This did not prevent Brahms from creating a piece that is distinctively his own, however. His sense of melody and humor infuse the composition with a lighter tone without sacrificing decorum.
Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic provide a delightful performance, as they always did. Remastered from recordings made in 1960 and 1968, the album is rich and clear while preserving the warmth of the analog originals.