The poet W.H. Auden captured the mood of an uneasy generation with his post-war The Age of Anxiety, a work that inspired Bernstein's Second Symphony, a musical dialogue among four strangers searching for happiness in an unsettled world.
At least one of them finds “the core of faith,” said Bernstein, “which is what one is after—and what I'm after in every work I ever write.” Bernstein himself was at the piano for the premiere; our soloist is the daring and dashing Jean-Yves Thibaudet, “a musician with fearless, flawless fingers” (The West Australian).
Yannick compares the tortured genius of Bernstein with that of Schumann with the latter's flowing Symphony No. 4, ending with the passionate frenzy of Richard Strauss's Don Juan.