Colorado Symphony conductor Andrew Litton

(Courtesy Colorado Symphony)

“Age of Anxiety,” the second symphony by Leonard Bernstein, is the centerpiece of the Colorado Symphony’s first American Festival concert on Saturday.

Hear it live on CPR Classical at 7:30 p.m. Saturday as part of CPR’s spring live broadcast lineup. A second performance at Boettcher Concert Hall is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.

The program also features the Clarinet Concerto and “Two Mountain Scenes” by composer Kevin Puts. Bil Jackson, the symphony’s former principal clarinetist, and pianist William Wolfram are the featured soloists on the program.

We asked Colorado Symphony Music Director Andrew Litton to walk us through some highlights “Age of Anxiety,” a piece he described as “Bernstein at his most boisterous and his most introspective.”

Bernstein finished and debuted the piece in 1949, inspired by a Pulitzer Prize-winning poem by W.H. Auden. Bernstein later revised its ending in 1965.

“It is, I think, one of the greatest works Bernstein gave us -- certainly one of the top three classical works,” Litton said. Click the audio above for more from Litton.

Part 2 of the Colorado Symphony’s American Festival is set for March 13 at Boettcher Hall. CPR Classical will broadcast it at 7 p.m. March 28