BERNSTEIN, LEONARD. (1918-1990). American composer, conductor, teacher, and pianist. AMusMsS. (“Love, Lenny”). ½p. Folio. N.p., April 11, 1974. A unique composition dedicated to award-winning television producer and Bernstein manager Harry J. Kraut (1933-2007). An eight-measure quotation from French composer Georges Bizet’s (1838-1875) famous L’Arlésienne, written out by Bernstein, marked con spirito, and inscribed “For Harry, 11 April 1974,” with the following lyrics:
Leonard Bernstein and Georges Bizet Compose a Birthday Greeting!
Signed by Leonard Bernstein
“H.J.K. is fort-y-odd to-day, and ve-ry odd it is be-cause, by God, it is a time to say, a-long with Georges Bi-zet, we all love Har-ry in our own way!”
Following his studies with conductors Fritz Reiner and Serge Koussevitzky, Bernstein’s talent led him to posts with several prominent metropolitan orchestras including the New York Philharmonic where he introduced his popular “Young People’s Concerts” series. But Bernstein was also adept at composition, working in the disparate disciplines of classical, liturgical, jazz, and contemporary music. His works include West Side Story, the oratorio Kaddish and music for the film On the Waterfront. In 1971 Bernstein appointed “Harry Kraut, a music-loving Harvard Man… with a shrewd business-trained eye who had worked at the Boston Symphony for thirteen years, most recently as manager of Tanglewood,” to head Amberson, Inc., the company Bernstein created to manage his professional affairs, (Leonard Bernstein, Burton). Kraut produced such television programs as Bernstein at Tanglewood, Bernstein at 70 and Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic.
Bernstein occasionally composed works like the present humorous example as gifts for family and close friends. Penned at the top of a sheet of 16-line Schirmer music paper, the blank lower half, below the horizontal fold, has several traces of previous mounting. The fold does not affect any text and the paper is only slightly age-toned; otherwise in very good condition and increasingly uncommon in this format.