BERNSTEIN West Side Story Bernstein DVDV 0734054

. . . a fascinating look inside the creative process of recording.

. . . this iconic documentary eavesdropping on the recording sessions is as compelling as it was 20 years ago. At its core is Bernstein's matchless charisma. There's Lenny the joyful, cuddly maestro who's relishing the crack New York session orchestra penetrating into the funk of his swinging jazz writing, and then there's Bernstein as benevolent bully when lesser mortals err . . . And with superb performances of "West Side Story"'s many showstoppers -- 'America', 'Cool', 'Tonight' -- and Bernstein's imposing, wisecracking presence on the podium, this moment of captured history remains vivid and exciting with every viewing.

. . . after the death of this famous conductor, who also happens to be the composer of this brilliant musical, this 1984 documentary has more historical interest than it had back then . . . The super pick-up orchestra catches exactly the heady fusion of American classical, jazz, Broadway, and Latino elements . . . Bernstein also has a thorough command of the work's theatrical inflections to make this a compelling performance . . . Here we have the added wit and theatrics of Bernstein, as much a performer as his singers.

The recording Bernstein made is unique, offers many pleasures, and will always merit study . . . there are many things to savor in the recording: the sensational playing of the crack pickup orchestra led with incomparable élan by the composer, the earthy Anita of Tatiana Troyanos, the splendid character singing, and the sparkling clear digital sound. The definitive recording of "West Side Story", the Broadway musical, is the cast recording with the heartbreaking Maria of Carol Lawrence, the ardent Tony of Larry Kert, and the unique, star-making Anita of Chita Rivera. The good stereo sound is more than adequate. However, the movie soundtrack recording in the 2003 reissue is electrifying. Richard Beymer is even better than Larry Kert as Tony and Marni Nixon is a masterful Maria. Rita Moreno is hardly less effective than Chita Rivera . . . it is impossible not to marvel along with Leonard Bernstein at its evergreen ¿freshness¿. Bring on those tissues!

Bernstein, conducting his musical for the first time, alternates between for the first time, alternates between thunderclouds and sunshine as he whips his top-flight scratch band into shape and exuberantly encourages his unlikely cast of singers to new heights.

Emotion garantie! . . . C'est l'un de nos "événements du mois" . . . "The Making of West Side Story" est un documentaire comme on en rêve, un petit chef-oeuvre d'intelligence qui nous permet d'assister aux sessions d'enregistrement de la comédie musicale sous la direction du compoisteur. Nous sommes à New York en 1984 et les caméras suivent le chef d'orchestre et compositeur dans son travail, la plupart du temps en studio, mais également à son domicile. Bernstein crée d'emblée une atmosphère étonnante, un mélange de gravité et d'humour décapant. Son charisme stupéfie: il joue de la séduction pour arriver à ses fins, tout comme il sait "engueuler" dans une atmosphère plombée les copistes des partitions en retard . . . Ce document montre aussi les rapports humains entre ces artistes de rang international, et le regard qu'ils portent vers un génie de l'orchestration et de la direction . . . A montrer prioritairement dans tous les conservatoires de musique!

El resultado de la película realizada al margen del CD, permite adentrarse en el estudio y en la piel de todos y cada uno de los componentes de un proceso tan arduo como el de dar a luz una obra. Uno puede sentirse Bernstein, cuyos enfáticos y desenfadados gestos contrastan con su exigente meticulosidad, o Carreras -- doliente víctima de una excesiva responsabilidad, superada al fin por su absoluta maestría -- o incluso el productor de la grabación, paciente director segundón, consciente del peligro de contradecir al maestro. La amenidad de la realización de Christopher Swann y lo electrizante de la experiencia justifican la adquisición del producto.