KOUSSEVITZKY conducts Bernstein, Hanson & Shostakovich

Three world première recordings feature in this week's release by Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. They're joined by Leonard Bernstein in 1949 at the keyboard for the broadcast première of Bernstein's Second Symphony, "The Age of Anxiety", which took place the day after they had performed its world première. Take a listen to the online sample for an example of Bernstein's brilliant keyboard virtuosity.

Another symphonic première took place three years earlier, when Koussevitzky gave the US debut of Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony at Tanglewood that summer. By October the Soviet authorities were demonstrating their unhappiness with the work, citing "idealogical weaknesses", something which did little to deter Koussevitzky from programming it in Boston and giving it its US broadcast première, heard here.

The final work is shorter, a Serenade for Flute, Harp and Strings, written by Howard Hanson as an unspoken marriage proposal in 1946. It was a success in that his wedding took place that summer, and Koussevitzky programmed it in the autumn to mark the American composer's fiftieth birthday. As with the other recordings, this these broadcast première has been preserved and XR remastered in excellent sound quality.