Rupert Christiansen

Bookends: Byronic intensity

A year before he died from emphysema in 1990, the composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein agreed to be interviewed by the music journalist Jonathan Cott for Rolling Stone. Dinner with Lenny (OUP, £16.99) is the transcription of their 12-hour conversation, in which Bernstein’s frenetic energy —  ‘Byronic intensity’ is how Cott puts it  — is as vividly evident as his relentless egocentricity and unctuous if irresistible charm.

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