Leonard Bernstein

Candide, overture to the operetta

    Description by Michael Blostein

    Candide is a comic operetta based on the work by Voltaire. The work was extremely unsuccessful during its Broadway premiere in 1956, and it is primarily only as an overture that the music is remembered at all today. The overture was premiered by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1957 with Bernstein conducting and became almost an instantaneous orchestra and concert band staple. The work is extremely quick-paced, with a feverish excitement that begins from the first breath of sound. Each player of the ensemble, whether an orchestra or concert band, is required to perform with the utmost of virtuosity, and the work requires an immensely together ensemble. Many of the meters are in seven beats or of other non-traditional types, and they quickly change. Short, full ensemble statements open the work, and this beginning idea intermittently appears several times throughout the work, almost as a reminder of what has been and that it is still the same work. While there are some melodic ideas, as well as some wonderful harmonic textures, it is clear that the main stylistic character of the music must be its rhythmic use. Strong percussion accents, writing in orchestrational groupings and families such as brasses, and harsh attacks from the ensemble as an entity are apparent throughout. The form of the piece is as scattered as the music itself. Most of the ideas are short and sporadic. When an idea is presented, there is usually little time for it to be developed, but instead the music quickly changes direction to some other idea. Oddly, this lack of development of ideas has not deterred from the music's popularity; with the Overture to Candide still a popular favorite among concert programmers, it is doubtful that this music will die away anytime soon.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Warner Classics 0190295974930
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon B002475402
    2016 Sony Classical 88875190972
    2016 Naxos 8509003
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646487332
    2015 Lim 80
    2015 Coviello Classics COV 91510
    2014 100 Hits / Demon DMG100 129
    2014 Decca
    2014 Sony Classical G010003051941C
    2014 Sony Classical 88883796882
    2014 Gia / GIA Publications GIA 937
    2014 Decca
    2014 Music At Immanuel
    2013 Decca 4785437
    2013 Naxos 8573056
    2013 Naxos 8578253
    2013 ABC Classics ABC 4810616
    2012 Warner Classics 465704
    2012 Decca 001649302
    2012 Decca
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099932785
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099932786
    2012 Sono Luminus DSL 92151
    2011 EMI / EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099994846
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 Philips 001644800
    2010 Digital
    2010 Decca
    2010 Royal Philharmonic Masterworks / RPO 28780
    2010 EMI / EMI Classics VTDCDX 1004
    2010 Sony Classical 88697757642
    2010 EMI Classics
    2010 Sony Masterworks 8869771772
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926475
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon
    2008 EMI Classics
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 4717372
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099923446
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 001187802
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099920662
    2008 EMI Classics
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 283792
    2008 Sony Music Distribution 727988
    2008 Ongaku 024120
    2007 Virgin Classics 3913392
    2007 Philips
    2007 Sony Classical Essential Classics 88697120602
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 4776115
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 5126312
    2007 Sony BMG 82876803192
    2006 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946365645
    2006 Deutsche Grammophon 577002
    2006 Decca Broadway / Decca 7668
    2006 Decca 000671002
    2006 Rhino
    2006 Arte Nova 433210
    2006 Clarion 923
    2006 Urtext 106
    2006 Decca 4757470
    2005 Erato
    2005 Sony Music Distribution 92988
    2005 Capriccio Records 49007
    2005 Sony Music Distribution 92989
    2005 Stradivarius 33688
    2004 Sony Classical 92728
    2004 Philips / Philips 0002606
    2004 Warner Music 4604802
    2004 Brilliant / Brilliant Classics 6151
    2004 Universal Classics & Jazz
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon 000306402
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 000001402
    2003 Delta Distribution 40037
    2003 Musicians Showcase 1089
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 469 322-2GP2
    2002 Brilliant 6169
    2001 Philips / Philips / Universal Distribution 156
    2001 Deutsche Grammophon 471518
    2001 CBC Records 5125
    2001 RCA Victor / RCA 63806
    2001 Deutsche Grammophon 469115
    2000 Delta Distribution 24485
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 56576
    2000 Virgin 61119
    2000 Sony Music Distribution 89043
    2000 Sony Music Distribution SFKSF-89109
    2000 Laserlight 40013
    1999 Penguin Classics 460 656-2DP
    1999 Intersound 2878
    1999 Reference Recordings RR87CD
    1999 Virgin 61612
    1999 Centaur Records 2427
    1999 Sony Music Distribution 66493
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 72436
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459147
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459 552-2GX2
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459050
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459 070-2GCC11
    1998 RCA 902668983
    1998 Platinum Entertainment 1735
    1998 Intersound 3845
    1998 Cala Records 102
    1998 BBC Music 1
    1998 EMI Music Distribution 72800
    1997 Sony Music Distribution 63034
    1997 London 452916
    1997 Intersound 1218
    1997 BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Records / Polygram 64885
    1997 Arte Nova 74321 43321-2
    1997 Arte Nova Classics 68913
    1997 Angel Records 56465
    1996 Intersound 2520
    1996 Intersound 3618
    1996 Intersound 1120
    1995 Laserlight 12470
    1995 RCA 68334
    1995 EMI Music Distribution 65745
    1995 Intersound 1215
    1995 MCA / PolyGram 442808
    1995 BMG / RCA Victor Red Seal 09026682612
    1995 Intersound 3820
    1994 Pro-Arte Records 3502
    1994 EMI Music Distribution 68202
    1994 Sony Classical 64058
    1994 Rene Gailly 87076
    1994 EMI Music Distribution 568130-2
    1993 Klavier Records 11048
    1993 Musicmasters / MusicMasters 67099-2
    1993 Telarc Distribution 80305
    1993 Deutsche Grammophon 413324
    1993 Publishers Clearing House 5093/5095
    1992 Sony Music Distribution 47529
    1992 XLNT Music / XLNT Music CD-18008
    1991 Laserlight 35895
    1990 CBS Records 44723
    1990 London 4301342
    1990 CBS Records / Columbia 42263
    Reader's Digest Music 068
    First Choice 4506
    Pro-Arte Records 846
    Laserlight 15944
    Mark Custom Recording 3711
    Vox 8155
    Pro-Arte Records 3413
    Arte Nova Classics 68912
    Deutsche Grammophon 427042
    Philips 416360
    CBS Records 39448
    Philharmonia of the Nations 54
    EMI Music Distribution 572091-2
    EMI Music Distribution 2242
    Naxos 8559099
    EMI Music Distribution 67202
    Seraphim UK 569580-2
    UNT College of Music
    Laserlight 15895
    Laserlight 15670
    Kem-Disc 1009
    Nightingale 90560
    Pro-Arte Records 495
    EMI Music Distribution 68142
    EMI Music Distribution 4642
    EMI Music Distribution 65930
    Intersound 8303
    Deutsche Grammophon 427806
    Laserlight 14724
    EMI Music Distribution 64303
    Sony Music Distribution 61989
    In Classical Mood 12006
    Castle Music Ltd. 2904
    Smithsonian Collection of Reco 103
    Phoenix USA 152
    RCA 902668699
    Sony Music Distribution 47154
    All Russia
    Philharmonia of the Nations 56
    Seraphim UK
    Bandleader 5121
    Sony Music Distribution 46713
    Musical Heritage Society 515559
    Philips 4000712
    Hamau HAMAU 009
    Mark Custom Recording 3602
    Music at Immanuel 5605
    Pro-Arte Records 4
    Cala Records 6
    Reader's Digest Music 079
    Fanfare 3499
    CBS Records 42263