Leonard Bernstein

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Product Details

Reaktion Books
Publish Date
5.1 X 0.6 X 7.8 inches | 0.9 pounds
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About the Author

Paul R. Laird is professor of musicology at the University of Kansas School of Music, where he has taught since 1994. He is the author of The Chichester Psalms of Leonard Bernstein, coauthor of Leonard Bernstein: A Research and Information Guide, and coeditor of The Cambridge Companion to the Musical, among many other books.


"Laird's long immersion in the subject shows through in this book. . . . He is as well placed as anyone to write a new study of Bernstein's life and work. The present book gives a concise, clear-headed account of an immensely charismatic musician whose personal life Laird describes as 'difficult and messy.' . . . There is a lot to enjoy in Laird's book. His success is achieved through lucid presentation and through a depth of knowledge--lightly worn--from which to evaluate Bernstein's achievements."--Gramophone
"Reaktion's Critical Lives series has become a useful barometer for an artist's reputation. Experts, rather than journalists or jobbing biographers, take the temperature of some of the culture's leading figures in concise, un-sensationalist studies. . . . Laird offers a neatly filleted account of Bernstein's life and works. It is a calm if not entirely neutral supplement to the unwieldy and often controversial bibliography that now surrounds the composer."--Prospect
"Laird's enthusiasm for his subject, kindled in a student encounter touchingly recalled in the final pages, must have eased the difficult task of compressing a complex man and a hectic career as composer, conductor, and public figure into 175 pages of text."--BBC Music Magazine
"In his excellent, new, concise biography, part of the Critical Lives series, Laird writes that 'the final chapter of Bernstein's life is often a sad journey.' That final chapter or two is far and away the most documented part of Bernstein's life. And with all the reissued or newly released recordings and videos, along with the recent memoirs, it is possible to take an unconventional view: Bernstein's lasting greatness as a conductor and as a composer in his maturity."--Mark Swed "Los Angeles Times "
"Laird's concise format . . . has the advantage of laying bare the chronological structure of Bernstein's career. In ninety pages you quickly see how much he accomplished in the first forty years of his life."--Larry Wolff "New York Review of Books "