Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Gottlieb, Jack. "Symbols of Faith in the Music of Leonard Bernstein." The Musical Quarterly 66 (April 1980): 287-95.

Bernstein has been concerned with theological meaning in his symphonic works. The acceptance of faith in God is consistently associated with a specific motive (a descending fourth followed by the further descent of a whole- or half-step). This motive invariably appears in the closing and/or opening moments of a work. It appears in Symphony No. 1 (Jeremiah), Symphony No. 2 (The Age of Anxiety), the "Spring Song" from The Lark, Symphony No. 3 (Kaddish), Chichester Psalms, Mass, and Dybbuk. The use of this particular motive may be related to Bernstein's youth since it is common in the liturgy of the High Holy Day music and is also present (as a final cadence) in the Three Festivals of Sukkoth, Passover, and Shavuot. The motive then, "could seep into and take hold of the impressionable mind of a growing musician." It is probably an unconscious association on the part of Bernstein.

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: David C. Birchler

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