Bernstein is intent on demonstrating that the inevitable doesn’t just happen. It comes from intense work.
To show this, he restores a handful of Beethoven’s discarded sketches to the score so that we can hear how the Fifth would have sounded if Beethoven had retained his first (or second or 10th) thought. Some discarded passages are surprisingly workaday; others are interesting but lack the drama found in the music that eventually replaced them. The message Bernstein leaves you with is that in composition, process — trial and error, writing and revision — is everything.
DVDs of Leonard Bernstein’s television appearances have just been released. Allan Kozinn reviews these in “Bernstein on the Mystery Behind the Music”, The New York Times, 15 February 2010. Click here to view article.