This recording is taken from the final concerts Leonard Bernstein gave with the New York Philharmonic in October 1989, so it is a very historical bit of musical documentation as well as a fine reading of great American music. Bernstein and Copland had a long history together, and some of LB's greatest performances were of Copland works (Appalachian Spring, Piano Concerto, et al.). This disc is no exception; it's a very lovely recounting of some of the most important music of the 20th Century. "El Salon Mexico" is given a vibrant reading to start out, one that I might suggest as being almost definitive. The first part of the Clarinet Concerto is slower than some interpretations, but beautiful all the same. The second movement is where Stanley Drucker, Lenny and friends pull out all the stops for the raucous ending. The "Music for Theater" is conversely snappy and restful, a better reading (I'd say) than the mid-60s one done by the same orchestra and conductor. Finally "Connotations", one of Copland's last great works, is given a neat run-through by the ensemble it was written for. From its opening rim-shots to the final, ear-splitting chords, "Connotations" is quite an accomplishment for a composer whose name is most often associated with softer, more "open" tonality. This is a great CD (in the truest sense of the word), and a glorious way for America's greatest conductor to end his career with one of America's greatest orchestras.