Norton Lectures

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In the third of the Norton Lectures, Bernstein invites the listener to investigate the purely musical meaning of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony (the "Pastorale") and to dismiss all programmatic associations of birds, trees and storms. Note, however, that on this page of his score, Bernstein has written "Boids," revealing that such associations are not so easily dismissed.

Leonard Bernstein titled his Norton Lectures "The Unanswered Question" after Ives' brief orchestral piece. This page from Bernstein's score of "The Unanswered Question" includes indications for speaking to the audience during the very quiet string passages.

© Copyright 1984 by Peer International Corporation; © Copyright 1953 by Southern Music Publishing, Co., Inc. Copyright Renewed by Peer International Corporation. Used by Permission.

Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550, was the focus of the first pair of Bernstein's Norton Lectures. In these lectures, Bernstein explored questions of musical phonology, musical syntax, musical metaphor and assymetry, all of which can be found on the very first page of the score.

The concept of musical ambiguity plays a crucial role throughout the Norton lecture series. This is Bernstein's score to Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 in B Minor ("Pathetique"). On the first page of the second movement, Bernstein wrote: "Simultaneously 2/3 - 3/2 = ambiguity = charm.". The conductor is referring to the unusual 5/4 meter that creates an off-kilter waltz, vacillating between divisions of 3 + 2 and 2+ 3, a wonderful example of musical ambiguity.

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