Leonard Bernstein

Maria, song (from "West Side Story")

    Description by Robert Cummings

    Admirers of Leonard Bernstein's most popular Broadway musical West Side Story generally consider "Maria," "Tonight," and "Somewhere" the three finest songs in the show. Of these, "Maria" appears first, coming after Tony leaves the dance, where he met and fell in love with Maria. She would normally be considered off-limits to a boy like Tony: she is Puerto Rican and engaged to Chino. But Tony sees beyond the prejudices of society and senses that this will be the love of his life.

    The song begins with Tony mesmerized by thoughts of the beautiful girl he had just kissed, the beautiful girl abruptly pulled away from him at the dance by her overly protective brother Bernardo. Tony repeats her name again and again, and out of it Bernstein ingeniously fashions the three notes that launch the main theme, a beautiful creation full of passion and yearning, of warmth and soaring lyricism. Stephen Sondheim's masterful lyrics contribute to the powerful sweep of emotion here. When Tony expresses his overwhelming feelings of love and infatuation, Sondheim imaginatively yet simply captures his lovesick state of mind: "Maria, say it loud and there's music playing; Say it soft and it's almost like praying." When the orchestra takes up the melody, Tony revels in the beauties of her name once more, singing it ecstatically again and again. Without doubt, "Maria" is one of Bernstein's most memorable and beautiful songs from any genre.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4797477
    2016 Verve 002480402
    2016 Decca 4812585
    2016 Masterworks 535196
    2015 Decca / Verve 4811885
    2015 Verve 4812050
    2015 Int'l Other
    2015 Sugar / Universal Latino B002412602
    2014 Decca 4820231
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 ABC Classics 4810116
    2012 EMI / EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099932737523
    2011 Greatest Ever / Union Square Music 42
    2011 Fab Four / Membran 233333
    2011 Naïve DC 510503
    2011 Union Square Music METRSV001
    2011 Somerset Entertainment 53243
    2010 Silva Screen 1013282SC
    2010 Angel Records 50999648000820
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Decca 0012971
    2008 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2008 ABC Classics 4766809
    2007 Rca 88697189862
    2007 Universal Distribution 4429497
    2006 Decca 000730702
    2006 Universal Distribution 9874521
    2006 Polydor 1709596
    2006 Shout! Factory / JMG/Jewish Music JMG-180492
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 36172
    2005 Allegria 221053
    2004 ABC Classics 9800463
    2003 Fim 51
    2003 Summit Records 352
    2002 Summit Records 316
    2002 Reader's Digest Music 9133
    2002 Angel Records 724353633622
    2002 Park South Records / Orpheus Records / Park South Records 90630
    2002 Collectables 7478
    2002 Metro 84
    2002 Soundline 4025
    2001 Eroica Distribution 3046
    2001 Deutsche Grammophon 469115
    2001 UTV 2894617042
    2001 UTV / Decca 461704
    2001 Disky 993782
    2000 RS 3
    2000 Teldec 21480
    2000 Dorian XCD 90278
    2000 Polygram / Universal Distribution 463598
    2000 Sony Music Distribution SFK-89277
    1999 CPO 999505
    1999 Koch Discover International DICD920541
    1999 Sony Music Distribution 66493
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 459 362-2GX11
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459050
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459 070-2GCC11
    1998 Carlton Classics 6601042
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 453848
    1997 Laserlight 12682
    1997 Philips 456079
    1997 Harmonia Mundi 905240
    1997 VAI Audio 1140
    1997 Sony Classical 62886
    1997 BMG / RCA 68633
    1997 Sony Classical S2K-63027
    1997 BMG 61163
    1996 ASV CDWHL 2099
    1995 Intersound / Pro-Arte Records 8005
    1994 Sony Classical MFK-64394
    1994 Sony Classical 64058
    1994 Pickwick 4141
    1993 Deutsche Grammophon 439517
    1993 Teldec 4509-92014-2
    1992 Orfeo 247911
    1991 Thorofon 06298
    1991 Sony Music Distribution 46635
    1990 CBS Records 39866
    1989 Sony Music Distribution 45531
    1988 CBS Records / Sony Classical 42520
    RCA 902661508
    Pro-Arte Records 846
    Deutsche Grammophon 427042
    CBS Records 39448
    Philharmonia of the Nations 54
    London 444538
    Teldec 95218
    Pilz 43262
    RCA 6486
    Supraphon 7956
    Universal Classics & Jazz 4761177
    Fone 9703
    CBS Records 44701
    Town Hall 55
    Heartland Productions, Inc. 3299
    Well-Tempered Productions 5173
    Madacy 46635
    Somerset Entertainment 46216
    Deutsche Grammophon 039627
    Fanfare 3499
    Philips 426041