Leonard Bernstein


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Re-entry, after falling out of the chart last year. Bernstein is a Hall of Fame One Hit Wonder.

The Journey of Candide from 1956 failed comic operetta to perpetual Classic FM Hall of Fame favourite is as intriguing as the hero's journey within the picee itself. In the operetta, Candide (sung by a tenor) experiences numerous fabulous disasters and tortuous plot twists. In real life, the operetta itself seems to have had just as many ups and downs.

After receiving a disappointing premiere in 1956, it had to be fitted with a completely new libretto in 1973, after the original librettist withdrew her permission for her words to be used. Then, following numerous minor makeovers, it was finally set in stone with Bernstein's own 1989 refurbishment. If you factor in the revelation that some music he had written for Candide was 'borrowed' by the composer for his most celebrated work, West Side Story, then it makes it all the more surprising that Candide has endured.