Ether Game

Leonard Bernstein: Candide, Overture

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: a very “green” philosophy…

In Bernstein’s operetta, the principal characters try everything to find happiness, only to finally resolve that the only real solution is to “tend your own garden” by living simply, productively, and hoping for the best. Up to this point, however, endless misfortunes result from the naïve philosopher Dr. Pangloss, who teaches that the worst possible disaster must be a blessing, given the essential goodness of God. Voltaire’s 1759 novel “Candide” was subtitled “Optimism,” and was intended as a savage parody of philosophical optimism of Voltaire’s time, particularly that of his contemporary Gottfried Leibniz. Even in the twentieth century, however, the story manages to retain its satirical edge. Perhaps this is because its targets (persecution, war-mongering, and shallow utopianism) have never really gone out of style.

Music Heard On This Episode

Leonard Bernstein: Overture to “Candide”
London Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, cond. — Bernstein Conducts Candide (Deutsche Grammophon, 1997)
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album cover
Leonard Bernstein: Overture to “Candide”
London Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, cond. — Bernstein Conducts Candide (Deutsche Grammophon, 1997)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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