Leonard Bernstein

Tonight, song (from "West Side Story")

    Description by Robert Cummings

    Those familiar with Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story are generally aware that it is an updating of Shakespeare's tragic love story Romeo and Juliet. "Tonight" is one of the most popular songs from this 1957 Broadway musical smash hit. It is a duet sung by lovers Tony and Maria, and features one of Bernstein's best-known and -loved melodies. In the story it comes in the famous balcony scene, right after Tony meets Maria, and shortly after he sings the equally popular song "Maria." It reappears later on, in the quintet scene, truncated and with different lyrics.

    "Tonight" begins with an introductory section where, in the latter moments, the music works up passionately to the dramatic first appearance of the song's famous melody. Maria introduces it: two notes rise on the first "Tonight," then descend on the second one, after which the melody soars to the heavens with a sense of passion and drama, of being carried away. Then Tony takes up the song's second subject, bringing music of equal beauty, even if its sense of passion is reined in a bit. The lovers sing softly and more slowly in a brief central episode, but soon the melody regains its animation and emotional sweep, the dazzled pair realizing their mutual love ("Tonight, tonight the world is wild and bright, going mad shooting sparks into space"). This passionate duet appropriately ends softly and intimately, recalling the hushed atmosphere from its opening.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Warner Classics 0190295851927
    2016 Decca 4830844
    2016 Warner Classics 0825646390229
    2016 Sony Classical 88985332922
    2016 Masterworks 535196
    2016 Masterworks Broadway / Sony Music 88875180322
    2016 Ghostlight 84500
    2016 Ghostlight
    2015 ABC Classics 4823700
    2015 ABC Classics 4811627
    2014 Decca
    2014 Decca B002109802
    2014 Avalon 61842
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 United Audio Entertainment IP 63242
    2011 Elisabeth Turchi
    2011 Sony Music Distribution
    2011 Somerset Entertainment 53243
    2010 Sonoma / Sonoma Entertainment 4021
    2010 Silva Screen 1013282SC
    2010 Decca
    2010 Angel Records 50999648000820
    2009 Original Cast OC 6237
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Jay Productions Ltd. / Jay Records CDJAY 1406
    2009 Philips
    2009 Union Square Music / Simply SIMPLYCD 205
    2009 Universal Distribution 4781879
    2009 Philips
    2009 Masterworks Broadway 8869753085
    2008 Decca 4800535
    2008 EMI Classics 217448
    2008 Decca 4756298
    2008 Jay Records CDJAY 1401
    2008 Broadway Masterworks 94255
    2008 Philips 96267
    2008 Delta Distribution 23128
    2007 Edel Records 0184342ERE
    2006 Decca
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 36172
    2005 Allegria 221053
    2005 Decca 9828808
    2005 Pro Organo 7164
    2003 Summit Records 352
    2003 Decca 472630
    2002 Sony Music Distribution 502464
    2002 Summit Records 316
    2002 Angel Records 724353633622
    2002 Reader's Digest Music 9144
    2001 Summit Records 310
    2001 Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 89710
    2001 Decca 467919
    2001 Showtime Records 58
    2000 Dorian XCD 90278
    2000 Philips 468121
    2000 Polygram / Universal Distribution 463598
    2000 BBC Music 29
    2000 St. Clair 41992
    1999 Rene Gailly 87159
    1999 Koch Discover International DICD920541
    1999 Collectables 2747
    1999 London/Decca / London / PolyGram 4607932
    1999 BMG Special Products 44910
    1999 Sony Music Distribution 66493
    1999 Philips / PolyGram 462892
    1998 Carlton Classics 6601042
    1998 London/Decca / Decca / London 4606002
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 453848
    1997 Channel Crossings CCS 9896
    1997 Philips 456079
    1997 BMG / RCA 68633
    1996 Dominion / K-Tel Distribution 3275
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 56117
    1996 ASV CDWHL 2099
    1996 Sony Classical 62365
    1996 Varèse Sarabande / Varese 5622
    1995 Rhino 71885
    1995 CBS Special Products / Sony Music Distribution 21112
    1994 Sony Classical 64058
    1991 CBS Masterworks / CBS Records 44993
    1991 Thorofon 06298
    1991 Atlantic 82350-2
    1989 Sony Music Distribution 45531
    Brentwood Records 345
    Pro-Arte Records 846
    Deutsche Grammophon 427042
    CBS Records 39448
    London 444538
    Sony Music Distribution 53542
    ABC Classics 4810378
    That's Entertainment Records 8317
    RCA 7034
    Castle Music Ltd. 2904
    EMI Music Distribution 57231
    RCA 902668699
    Doyen 97
    Fone 9703
    RCA 60393
    Bainbridge 1005
    Decca 460850
    Sony Music Distribution 27244
    Pro-Arte Records 867
    Rachael Cooper
    Somerset Entertainment 46216
    Philips 468139
    Fanfare 3499
    Doyen DOYCD 072
    Philips 426041