Pianist Lara Downes’ forthcoming CD For Lenny features music written by Bernstein, but also selections by other composers written for Bernstein. The recording includes the world premiere recording of Blitzstein’s Innocent Psalm (for the Bernstein Baby), (solo piano, 1953). Blitzstein composed the work in honor of the birth of the Bernsteins’ oldest daughter, Jamie.
Jamie Bernstein on Blitzstein:
“My parents adored Marc. So close a friend was he that they appointed him my godfather when I was born. He immediately composed a piano piece in my honor — “To Baby Girl Bernstein;” I didn’t even have a name yet.
“In the summers, my parents were in the habit of making fairly elaborate home movies with story lines. In the summer of 1960, they made ‘Call Me Moses,’ their own silent Exodus epic. Marc was cast as the Pharaoh’s whipmaster, lashing the slaves on the beach at Martha’s Vineyard as they toiled to build the pyramids. Our family watches this movie every year at Passover. Somehow, as Marc laughs with silent-movie evil glee, burnished and handsome under the New England summer sun and melodramatically kissing his cat o’ nine tails, he remains completely adorable.”
(originally published in Kurt Weill Newsletter, Vol. 30 No. 1, Spring 2012)