Chichester Psalms  - Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)


Leonard Bernstein’s outstanding musical talent was evident from his student days, prompting a witty friend to remark, “Lenny is doomed to success!” His prodigious gifts as composer, conductor, teacher, and pianist were equally divided between jazz, the musical theatre and the concert-hall. As a composer he is mostly remembered for the vivid scores he wrote for West Side Story, Candide and a number of other Broadway productions, but he also wrote a significant amount of music for the concert-hall, including three symphonies.

Chichester Psalms was commissioned by the Very Reverend Walter Hussey, whilst he was Dean of Chichester Cathedral, for the 1965 Southern Cathedrals Festival. It received its world premiere in New York on July 15th 1965, and was first performed in this country on July 31st 1965, at Chichester.
The work is sung in Hebrew and is in three short movements, heard tonight in the composer’s own reduced version which calls for an accompaniment of organ, harp and percussion.

John Bawden


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