Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein

Oxford Univ. 2013. 208p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199858446. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780199311477. MUSIC
OrangeReviewStarThere is no shortage of information about the great Leonard Bernstein. Yet within Rolling Stone editor Cott's (Days That I'll Remember: Spending Time with John Lennon and Yoko Ono) new book is something the music world has been sorely missing for over 20 years: the voice of Bernstein himself. The interview contained here took place a year before Bernstein's death—when he was rarely granting interviews—and his candor and remarkable memory is matched only by the skill and erudition of interviewer Cott. In an almost perfect marriage of sensibilities, Cott's questions lead Bernstein far beyond the mundane, exploring the personal and passionate connection the conductor and composer seemingly had with every aspect of his life. This interview first appeared in Rolling Stone in 1990, though in a much abbreviated form. Its publication in full is a long-overdue gift to students of music, education, and (to be honest) life.
VERDICT This is a small but significant addition to Bernstein's legacy. A fascinating look into the mind and heart of a remarkable individual, this is an essential title for all music lovers and highly recommended for all libraries.
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