This soapbox pays tribute to two great American musical personalities. The first is Leonard Bernstein, lovingly brought to life in the film Maestro by Bradley Cooper in an acting tour de force.

I saw the real Bernstein conduct in London and was amazed by his passion, energy and sheer joy in music. I loved the TV doco about his recording of West Side Story for Deutsche Grammophon; the only time he had ever conducted his 1957 score. Waving his baton in one hand and a cigarette in the other, dancing, moody, shouting at José Carreras for being out of time, it was a great behind-the-scenes look at a man who made no effort to hide his pleasure or displeasure.

Leonard Bernstein. Photo © Wikimedia Commons.

Apparently, Cooper took six years to learn how to conduct the last moments of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony in a recreation of Bernstein’s 1973 Ely Cathedral concert with the London Symphony Orchestra, and I found myself discombobulated as I watched it in the cinema. In channelling Bernstein, he conducted with more passion in six minutes than I have mustered in 30 years.

The second musical personality is...