program notes by composition > C > Candide Suite

Candide Suite

Leonard Bernstein / adapted by Clare Grundman

Candide Suite In Leonard Bernstein’s comic operetta which premiered on Broadway in 1956, Candide, a young innocent who lives in a sheltered paradise, is mentored by Dr. Pangloss, who believes they live in “the best of all possible worlds.” This optimism is tested as Candide endures one abhorrent trial after another. When everything he has ever loved withers away amidst death, destruction and deceit he amends his philosophy to the more pragmatic “let us cultivate our garden.”

  1. “The Best of all Possible Worlds” Dr. Pangloss asserts that worldly ills are all for the best.
  2. “Westphalia Chorale and Battle Music” Devout Westphalians sing in praise of the integrity of their land before being massacred by invading Bulgarians.
  3. “Auto-da-fé” Dr. Pangloss and Candide are prosecuted as heretics by the Spanish Inquisition. Joyous music depicts the happy crowd celebrating their deliverance from earthquakes when an earthquake happens anyway.
  4. “Glitter and Be Gay” Cunegonde, Candide’s true love, has become the reigning madam in Paris. She sings of trying to maintain a brilliant carefree exterior while she may (or may not) be tortured by self-doubt.
  5. “Make Our Garden Grow” A hymn of hope as Candide realizes the only purpose of living is to cultivate the earth and create a garden.

Last updated on November 11, 2018 by Palatine Concert Band