Hand-Drawn Musical Bars, Signed by Bernstein
BERNSTEIN, Leonard. Autograph Musical Bars, Signed. N.P.N.D. C.A. , 1971.
A small 3 x 5 inch; 76 x 127 mm note card. "For Debra" with two bars of music, hand-drawn in blue ink and underneath, "Sing God a Simple Song- ('Mass')" and signed "Leonard Bernstein". With black-and-white 8x10 photo of Bernstein conducting.

"During his legendary tenure at the New York Philharmonic from 1958 to 1969, Leonard Bernstein composed only two works, Symphony No. 3: Kaddish (1963) and Chichester Psalms (1965). He had dedicated Kaddish to the memory of John F. Kennedy shortly after his assassination, and when Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis asked Bernstein to compose a piece for the 1971 inauguration of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., he was eager to honor the occasion with a new, large-scale work because he knew he had always wanted 'to compose a service of one sort or another.' The son of Russian-Jewish parents, a social liberal, and lifelong activist, Bernstein made a surprising choice: the Roman Catholic Mass. But instead of a straightforward, purely musical setting of the Latin liturgy, he created a broadly eclectic theatrical event by placing the 400-year-old religious rite into a tense, dramatic dialog with music and lyrics of the 20th century vernacular, using this dialectic to explore the crisis in faith and cultural breakdown of the post-Kennedy era... In MASS, the ceremony is performed by a Celebrant accompanied by a formal choir, a boys' choir, acolytes, and musicians. His congregation of disaffected youth (the "Street Chorus") sings the tropes that challenge the formal ecclesiastic dogma of the Church. As the tension grows and the Celebrant becomes more and more vested, the cynical congregants turn to him as the healer of all their ills, violently demanding peace. In a climactic moment, overwhelmed by the burden of his authority, the Celebrant hurls the sacraments to the floor and has a complete spiritual breakdown. The catharsis creates an opening for a return to the simple, pure faith with which he had begun the ritual (expressed in the sublime "A Simple Song"). Though MASS challenges divine authority, exposing its contradictions and questioning religion's relevance to contemporary life, it ultimately serves as a reaffirmation of faith and hope for universal peace." (Leonard Bernstein dot com]

HBS # 68021 $2,250