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Leonard BernsteinThe Political Life of an American Musician$
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Barry Seldes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257641

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257641.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

Understanding Bernstein

Understanding Bernstein

The Unrealized Masterwork

(p.168) Chapter Seven Understanding Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein

Barry Seldes

University of California Press

This chapter tries to understand why Bernstein was unable to compose a masterwork. It identifies the reasons behind his frustrations, and presents an outline of an idea for a socially critical opera during the days of the New Deal. Next, the chapter discusses the fate of the progressive imagination after 1948, as well as the revival of the social text during the late 1960s. Identity politics and the crisis during the twentieth-century are also discussed.

Keywords:   masterwork, New Deal, progressive imagination, social text, identity politics

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