Picks and Pans Review: Leonard Bernstein's New York
The celebrated conductor and composer was born and reared in the Boston area. But New York, New York, was clearly in his blood. Bernstein's theater scores On the Town (1944) and Wonderful Town (1953), along with the far darker, more mature West Side Story (1957), pulse with the energy and grittiness of a city that embraced him as its unofficial composer laureate.
A battalion of performers has been deployed to sing Bernstein's songs, among them Metropolitan Opera star Dawn Upshaw and two-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, who imbues "A Little Bit in Love" with captivating warmth and charm. And conductor Eric Stern rates hosannas for his co-arrangement (with Paul Ford) of "Some Other Time," effectively sung by Mandy Patinkin—who, thankfully, left his signature melodramatic mannerisms at the studio door. (Nonesuch)