(The Historic TV Broadcasts)
- Baker & Taylor-Video
Hosted by Alastair Cooke, the early television series "Omnibus" featured diverse live broadcasts on science, the arts, and the humanities. This four-DVD set of broadcasts by Leonard Bernstein includes seven complete programs: Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (1954); The World of Jazz (1955); The Art of Conducting (1955); American Musical Comedy (1956); Introduction to Modern Music (1957); The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach (1957) and What Makes Opera Grand? (1958), plus a bonus performance of Handel's Messiah, conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Besides composing and conducting, Bernstein was a champion lecturer about music, and these programs, which range from 33 to 76 minutes, were his first opportunities to try out his lecture style on television. The more famous Young People's Concerts, with the New York Philharmonic, began in January 1958, just two months before his final "Omnibus" appearance, and ran through 1972. Though the "Omnibus" programs have been seen only rarely since their original broadcasts, their substance is well known: Bernstein's scripts account for 231 pages of his 1959 essay compilation, "The Joy of Music." These are kinescopes, with their inevitable distortions (and, in some cases, abrupt cuts when the film ran out), and the soundtracks are muddy at times, but Bernstein's presentations are treasures of inestimable value to students and musicians everywhere!