Music names our deep feelings, even when we can’t find the words to label them, Leonard Bernstein said in his first Young People’s Concert, originally televised by CBS on Jan. 18, 1958, in partnership with the New York Philharmonic. “The meaning of music is in the music, the rhythms, the notes, the way the notes move. You’ll find out the meanings themselves just by listening to it.”
Bernstein’s explanation of the meaning of music to young people implied that, even if a story line was supposed to offer a narrative for a piece, the basic understanding of that piece was in the notes themselves.
“Music is never about anything. It just is. Music is beautiful notes and sounds put together in such a way that we get pleasure out of listening to them,” he said.
The two-year worldwide celebration of Bernstein’s 100th birthday continues until Aug. 25, 2019.