Bernstein: Candide (Overture); On the Waterfront – Symphonic Suite; Fancy Free (Three Dance Variations); On the Town (Three Dance Episodes); West Side Story – Symphonic Dances

Reviewed on Wed 04 Jul, 2018

Beam to the 'Galop' from Fancy Free or roistering 'Times Square Ballet' from On the Town to hear the sound of an orchestra simply having a ball.

Exhilaratingly lithe, rhythmically punchy and (above all) powerfully communicative performances of these Bernstein favourites under Christian Lindberg's idiomatic, agreeably characterful lead. Beam to the 'Galop' from Fancy Free or roistering 'Times Square Ballet' from On the Town to hear the sound of an orchestra simply having a ball. It's not all high-octane stuff, of course: how exquisitely Lindberg moulds the lyrical second subject of the Candide overture, and what ineffable tenderness he imparts to the first appearance of 'Somewhere' in the West Side Story symphonic dances (the apotheosis, too, is as touching as any I have encountered). Likewise, in the marvellous concert suite from the 1954 film score for Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront, Lindberg and the RLPO emerge with flying colours. As should by now be clear, this is a Bernstein centenary album certainly worth snapping up. Superb BIS recording, too, demonstration-worthy in its naturalness of timbre, lustrous glow and intrepid range of dynamics.
–Andrew Achenbach