Bernstein, Leonard. (1918–1990)

Autograph Letter regarding the publication of "Age of Anxiety"

Autograph letter signed to Nathan Broder, manager of publications for the music publisher G. Schirmer. 18 Feb, 1950, on letterhead of Bernstein's 1025 Park Ave address.  In full: “Dear Nat, Just a word to express my deep pleasure and satisfaction at the publication of The A of A [Age of Anxiety]. It is beatuifully gotten out, handsome and done with loving care; and I am filled with gratitude.  Sincerely, Lenny B." Usual folds, stamp "Received / 1950 FEB 18...G Schirmer" on the verso, in fine condition. 7 x 10.5 inches (19 x 26 cm).

American musicologist and editor, Nathan Broder (1905 - 1967) was associated editor of the Musical Quarterly (1945-1967), manager of publications for the music publisher G. Schirmer (1945-1954), chairman of the publication committee of the American Musicological Society (1952–1954), executive director of the American Section of RISM (1961–1965) and music editor at W.W. Norton & Co., New York (1963–1967), taught at Columbia University as a lecturer (1946-1952) and then as associate professor (1959-1962) and served as president of the American Musicological Society (1963-1964).

Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 2 The Age of Anxiety is a piece for orchestra and solo piano. Composed from 1948 to 1949 in the United States and Israel, it was first published and recorded in February, 1950 (later revised in 1965). It is titled after W. H. Auden's eponymous poem, and dedicated to Serge Koussevitzky. When beginning to write the piece, Bernstein stated that Auden's poem was "one of the most shattering examples of pure virtuosity in the history of English poetry" and that a "composition of a symphony based on The Age of Anxiety acquired an almost compulsive quality." After Auden's "The Age of Anxiety" won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948, Bernstein praised it, saying "When I first read the book I was breathless." Though called a symphony, "The Age of Anxiety" does not follow the traditional symphonic form: instead of a conventional four-movement, exclusively orchestral work, Bernstein scored it for solo piano and orchestra, and divided the piece into six subsections – mirroring Auden’s text – split equally into two parts that are performed without pause. 


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