Music: THE SYMPHONIC FORM IS DEAD

And Other Observations by a New Elder Statesman

THERE was a birthday bash prepared for the ballroom of the Brussels Hilton, with a lot of U.S. and Belgian officials and all 109 members of the New York Philharmonic Symphony invited. The musicians were not to supply the dance music; they were co-celebrators. The gifts included an original edition of Mahler's unfinished Tenth Symphony and a home stereo installation. Among the decorations: three 100-lb. sculptures of musicians carved in butter.

And the guest of honor? Leonard Bernstein, who—hard to believe—turned 50. Still youthful in appearance, interests and energy (he now jogs with...