Sir Simon Rattle conducts Bernstein's Wonderful Town — With the Berliner Philharmoniker

2002 New Year’s Eve Concert

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Thomas Hampson — Baritone

Kim Criswell — Mezzo-soprano

Audra McDonald — Soprano

Brent Barrett — Tenor

Karl Daymond — Baritone

Timothy Robinson — Tenor

Michael Dore — Bass

Simone Sauphanor European Voices

Berliner Philharmoniker

Sir Simon Rattle — Conductor

Program notes

In 2002 Sir Simon Rattle conducted the New Year’s Eve Concert for the first time at the Berliner Philharmonie. On the program were major works from the American composers Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin.

What a Wonderful Town was the theme of the Berliner Philharmoniker's 2002 New Year's Eve Concert. Conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, the orchestra was joined by some of the most sought-after singers in classical music today—including Thomas Hampson, Kim Criswell, Simone Sauphanor, and Karl Daymond—to perform Bernstein's Wonderful Town. This work is the second of Bernstein's trio of New York-themed musicals, which began with 1944's On The Town and was completed with 1957's West Side Story. Bernstein's score combines witty pastiches of various popular musical styles from the 1930s (Conga and Swing) with some of his most popular songs to create a musical love letter to 1930s New York City. The work is infused with the kind of edgy, intense rhythms that were the composer's trademark and remain to this day synonymous with the dynamism of the city itself.

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