Daniel Barenboim: "No Hope" article

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Daniel Barenboim: "No Hope" article

Post by Lance » Thu Aug 11, 2005 7:16 pm

He Doesn't Believe in Hope Any More (So He Says)
By Phil Miller
Daniel Barenboim on his Arab-Israeli orchestra, his late best friend and his legendary first wife.
The Herald [Glasgow] - 30 July 2005



Daniel Barenboim does not believe in hope any more.

Hope, the Jewish conductor says, is a luxury he can no longer afford. Perhaps the hope he had in his youth died with his first wife, the cellist Jacqueline du Pré. Or perhaps it faded when his soulmate, the Palestinian writer and activist Edward Said, died in 2003.

Barenboim leans forward in his chair and puts one of his oddly small, smooth pianist hands on my thigh. "You know, when I was younger I was more concerned with hope, " he says, in his heavily accented English. "Now I think it's a waste of time and a waste of energy and emotion. You have to do what you can do. And then, if there's hope? Well, good. But hope is not something you can aspire to. It's something you have to create. You have to do something practical."

He declares this, his watery grey eyes fixed and unblinking in the fierce Spanish afternoon, then taps his thick cigar into a silver ashtray and turns to look out over the courtyard. We are sitting in the bar of the Parador Hotel, part of the Palace of Alhambra in Granada. Tonight Barenboim will conduct a concert by the Staatskapelle Orchestra of Berlin, the city in which he lives; right now he is tired after a lengthy rehearsal. The 62-year-old likes to sleep every afternoon, but he has no time to doze today. He has too much on his mind. His wife's mother has been taken ill, and as he talks he repeatedly glances at his mobile phone, waiting for another call or text.

We have met on this feverishly hot day to talk of peace and reconciliation — the aims of his orchestra, the West-Eastern Divan, which he is bringing to the Edinburgh Festival. It is made up of Israeli and Arab youths, and represents détente, co-operation — even that hope of which he is now so suspicious. Earlier, he blew into the bar, a short, loud flurry of white suit, cigar smoke and beaming smiles, loudly proclaiming: "Ah, the Scottish are here!" He threw his panama hat onto the floor, and dropped a plastic bag full of fresh fruit beside it. Now, as he sits with a glass of cold orange and grapefruit juice, he is quieter, but still strident and firm in his language. Under his crinkled white Paul Smith suit he wears a white shirt with a green print of leaves and plants; he also sports a pair of natty white leather shoes. He has an olive-smooth face and large eyes; a small brown head topped with tufts of white hair.

The West-Eastern Divan was established in 1999 as the product of Barenboim's deep friendship with Said. It takes its name from a cycle of poems by the 19th-century German poet Goethe which were inspired by — and modelled on — Persian verse forms. A fusion of idealism and music, it brings together young musicians from Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt to create one harmonious whole. After Edinburgh, Barenboim will take it to perform in Ramallah, the West Bank town besieged by Israeli forces in 2002, for another public performance.

Although he refuses to believe in hope, his belief in the power of music to transcend the limitations of humanity is unconquerable.

"There is so much lack of understanding in the world, " he says. "The future of the two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, is connected, and it is a symmetrical problem: they do not understand each other's narrative. They have to know the future is living side by side. There is no way the Israelis can make the Palestinians disappear; nor can the Palestinians make Israel go away."

Music is the centre of Barenboim's life: as strong as his friendship with Said; as strong as his now infamous marriage to du Pré, the formidable British cellist, who died in 1987.

He was born in Buenos Aires, the only child of Jewish parents: Enrique, a pianist and music professor, and Aida, also a pianist. It was clear from an early age that the young Daniel was a prodigy. He began lessons with his parents at the age of five, and gave his first public concert at the age of seven. Fame and fortune followed, but only after a potentially traumatic move to Tel Aviv in 1952, when the Barenboims looked to Israel, then a state in its infancy, for a new life.

Although he had to learn a new alphabet, a new language and a new culture, his childhood was blissful. Israel was young and confident, and his family's new home was peaceful. There was no sign of the antagonism that would later scar the country and define his current life.

"I was not totally wrapped up in the music, " he assures me. "My parents were very intelligent. They saw to it that I grew up as a normal child. The move was not traumatic — of course I was playing concerts, but I went to school like everyone else. My parents explained that the Jewish people, wherever they had lived across the world, had been a minority, but they wanted me to grow up like everyone else, as part of a majority. So we were not moving to Israel for economic or political reasons, but for ideological reasons. I grew up in a harmonious way — but of course the existence of the non-Jewish population of the former Palestine was practically ignored."

His parents, he says, never talked about the Arabs. They might as well not have existed at all. Even Said, his closest friend, once said of Barenboim: "I think when he was growing up he never met a Palestinian. They may as well have been on the moon." No Arabs lived in Tel Aviv, the conductor says. "It was talked about in this way: that there was Palestine before the state of Israel was created, and then the Palestinians left. But it was not the true picture, or at least not the complete picture."

Unlike some of the players in his orchestra, Barenboim was brought up without the constant fear of attack and reprisal. His parents taught him not to hate, not to dismiss whole populations because of the actions of their most deranged members. "We despised the Nazis, obviously, what they did and what they stood for, but not Germany and German culture. Of course not. I was playing Haydn, Brahms and Beethoven: how could I?"

Life for the young performer was a whirl of concerts, orchestras, acclaim and adulation, and the exhausting travelling life of the musician. Professionally he moved from working primarily as a pianist to become a conductor, an orchestra director and an international star.

He met du Pré in 1966 and married her the following year: the duo became a glamorous focus for classical music across the world, a golden couple combining beauty and artistry.

But slowly his focus was moving away from the world of the lectern and the score, to the events convulsing Israel.

He admits he was "in anguish" in 1967 when, during the Six Day War, he thought the combined aggressive might of Egypt, Jordan and Syria would crush his adopted homeland.

Instead he found himself looking on with increasing discomfort as Israel won the war, and took control of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and whole populations of people who lived there. "In 1970, Golda Meir [the then Israeli prime minister] pronounced that there was no such thing as a Palestinian people. I thought then: you can't say this. You can't turn a blind eye, say they don't exist."

As he speaks about politics, he gesticulates wildly. It's as if he is now on the lectern, in front of his orchestra, rather than sitting in a quiet hotel bar in the stifling Spanish heat.

"After the Six Day War there was a sort of euphoria, but that euphoria could not last because it was based on the non-acceptance of the rationality of the Palestinian story. It's imperative to me that everybody accepts the rationality of their narrative: namely, that the region lived for 500 years under the Turks, 30 years under the British, and then when the British left, they left one part of that population to create a new identity for itself, as Israel. But what about the others: the many Palestinians in Jaffa and Haifa and Gaza? It is a fact that has to be dealt with."

Barenboim has never been afraid to speak out. Last year he even lambasted the Israeli government when he accepted the prestigious Wolf Prize for the Arts in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. "Unless the Israelis understand the Palestinian narrative, it will never be solved, " he says. "That's not a even a political statement, it's a historical statement. You have to accept that the establishment of Israel was a catastrophe for them; that this is not a wilful anti-Semitic declaration, but an expression of the facts. Many of their lives were shattered. You cannot go back in time, obviously, but you have to accept that."

Perhaps he is too much of an idealist. When he talks of the West-Eastern Divan, he rigidly repeats that it is not a political organisation — even though bringing together Jews and Arabs in the Middle East is by its very nature a political act.

"It is a human project, " he maintains. "I don't think human beings can necessarily change or take away the suffering of somebody else, but we have to make the effort to try and understand and limit the suffering of the other, if it is in our power to do so. Music's greatest strength is that it can integrate everything in the human experience: so therefore when you take two people who are antagonistic, but they are able to make music together, they transcend the limitations of suffering and of joy."

He has attracted much criticism for his stance. His condemnatory speech at the Knesset, and his unapologetic performances of Wagner — a composer widely seen as anti-Semitic — have caused division and discord. "I cannot change the perceptions of others, " he says. "But this conflict in Israel is not only a political conflict: it is a conflict of history and a conflict of social justice. And my faith in music has never been shaken. This is why Edward Said and I created this orchestra: not to make a political statement, but to create the conditions for people to come from all backgrounds and make music together."

Edward Said changed Daniel Barenboim's life. Their friendship became one of his most significant relationships, alongside his two marriages — first to du Pré, now to Elena Bashkirova, the Russian pianist, with whom he has two sons. Said made him think about the plight of the Palestinians more deeply, and inspired him to create something practical to confront the divisions in their homeland.

Until Said is mentioned, the maestro has been on a roll, talking loudly and confidently, smiling at passers-by and hotel guests as they salute and wave. Now, however, he grows quiet. Although a charming man, theatrical and emotional, he has an effective technique for not answering questions he does not like: he just says "no", shakes his head a little, and looks out of the nearest window until another question is forthcoming. It is unnerving, especially after his former candour. All that can be heard after I mention Said's name is the fountain dribbling outside. Ash falls from his cigar and it sounds like an avalanche.

But this silence — unlike the one that falls when I later mention du Pré — does not signal reluctance to talk about Said. It is because he is close to tears. At last he talks, his voice low and his eyes filling. He speaks of his friend with love and tenderness.

He met Said by chance in a London hotel in 1991. They should have been diametrically opposed — the Palestinian activist and the Israeli hero; the introverted academic and the outgoing showman. But they bonded immediately. They realised they both wanted the same for their homeland: understanding, a dialogue, the acceptance that the future could not be defined by conflict and ignorance. Their friendship stimulated both men: Said took up his already accomplished piano-playing with new relish, while Barenboim began to think of practical steps to bridge the divides in their country. The Divan was born.

"He really was my closest friend, " Barenboim says, slightly choked. "He was a very, very exceptional human being. He had great capacity to understand and to feel, not only for his people but for himself and others too. For example, he was one of the best agitators for the need of the Arabs to understand the Holocaust, to accept that part of history — and for the Israelis to accept the suffering of the Palestinians. He was a remarkable man. When I met him, he provided me with an intellectual stimulus that I had never had before."

He recalls meeting the man who "set fires in his brain" as follows: "I was checking into a hotel in London. He approached me because he recognised me. I knew who he was; I had read about him, but I didn't know how he looked. He approached me and he was fascinating. And after that we were inseparable."

Said died two years ago, after a long battle with cancer. But the West-Eastern Divan is the vision he shared with his friend — the vision of a united Jewish and Palestinian state — expressed in a single musical entity. The orchestra was the fruit of their friendship, and Barenboim carries Said's spirit every time the orchestra steps onto a stage.

The Divan took two years to establish, and brings together talented young musicians between the ages of 14 and 25. "The orchestra is really a mirror of society, " Barenboim says.

"You have people who are serious, you have people who don't care, people who are intelligent, people who are less intelligent, you have all that in there. You have people who want to meet people and resolve their differences; then there are others who come who just want to play music. It's incredible that people who have grown up in that society come together that way. I can say that the orchestra has changed people's lives."

It is far better, he says, spreading his hands wide, to have people coming together to play music than "sitting in Tel Aviv or Damascus, worrying about who is going to attack you".

The Divan will play in Ramallah on August 21. It could be a hostile audience, I suggest. He shrugs it off. "I just don't think about it, " he says. "I am not nervous. When you go on stage at the age of seven, you are used to such situations. I don't get nervous now. But it's not a question of being thick-skinned; it's a question of whether, like me, you have achieved a certain notoriety and have a certain independence of opinion. With notoriety, you can do what you think is right."

As keen as Barenboim is to speak about the Divan, his enthusiasm visibly withers when talk turns to du Pré. The problem is not their long marriage — or her incredible talent — but the controversy surrounding her final years, and in particular the fallout from the 1998 film Hilary and Jackie. It garnered an Oscar nomination for Emily Watson, who played du Pré, but has scarred Barenboim. Its dissection of the relationship between the cellist, Barenboim, Jacqueline's sister Hilary and her husband Kiffer Finzi has left a residue of anger within him. Based on the book A Genius in the Family (which Hilary co-wrote with her brother, Piers) it depicts Jacqueline asking Hilary for an affair with Finzi. Hilary agrees, out of love for her sister.

Du Pré, who had severe multiple sclerosis, died — with Barenboim beside her — at the age of 42. It was a tragedy not only for her and her family, but for music. During her final years, Barenboim, while caring for du Pré, set up home with his current wife in Paris. He has been evasive in the past over whether du Pré knew of these arrangements, and today is not in the mood to elaborate.

I suggest that, to many in Britain, Barenboim is better known for being associated with du Pré than as an artist in his own right.

He raises his voice: "I still associate myself with her. She was an extraordinary human being, a unique human being, a unique talent." The film, though, is not up for discussion. "I don't want to talk about the film. I found it abhorrent, " he says with a unexpected growl. You imagine he can put the fear of God into unhelpful musicians. He looks away. "I don't want to talk about that film, " he says again, unprompted. "But I don't mind talking about her, of course not. No." And then he falls quiet for quite some time, and looks out into the courtyard again.

Later, as the waitress presents the bill with a beaming Andalusian smile, Barenboim mentions that he has fond memories of Edinburgh — where he attended nearly every festival in the 1970s — and of Scotland in general.

In particular, he remembers holidays there with du Pré, among them two typically wild and windy adventures in the Western Isles.

"We went on a couple of holidays to Mull, " he says, smiling and looking into the ice melting in his glass. "It was very rough on the sea, very wild. We tried to get to Fingal's Cave on the island of Staffa. I remember there was a boatman called Mr. Wilson, from Mull, but it was so rough he told Jackie and I that we had to turn back. Another time we finally got there, and it was beautiful."

Barenboim has riches in his life — wealth, talent, fame, a degree of power — but he has also lost much. The pain of losing du Pré is still there; perhaps fresher and more livid is the pain of losing Said, the man who helped transform his thinking, his life. As we leave the hotel lobby, he looks tired but relieved the interview is over. I ask him whether he keeps up the same pace as he did when he was young. "Younger, not young: I am young still!" he shouts delightedly and slaps my thigh boisterously. Then he asks me what I am doing that night, and produces a ticket for his concert, part of Granada's annual music festival, from his wallet.

In concert, he is a white storm on the lectern. Beneath the open sky of the Alhambra auditorium, he conducts an almost feverish performance of Mahler's 7th Symphony. With melodramatic moves, he implores the strings; he bends down almost to his knees to signal to the brass; he shakes his whole body at the cellos; he nods and smiles at the wind section.

At the end of the piece, he looks shattered, seemingly oblivious to the many "bravos" ringing from the well-dressed, capacity audience.

He wipes his brow and thanks his orchestra with a nod. And as the applause rises, he looks to the stars for some time, as if searching for more light from the darkened midnight sky.


The West-Eastern Divan performs at the Usher Hall as part of the Edinburgh International Festival on August 15.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
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Post by Ralph » Thu Aug 11, 2005 7:54 pm

A very thoughtful, insightful interview.
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Saulsmusic

Post by Saulsmusic » Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:54 pm

The Arrogant Barnboim forcefuly injected Wagner's music into the Israeli Audiance without thier consent.

Then this shameful conductor preeched in the Israeli Knesset as to what Israel should and should not do in its political arena.As if though he is an Israeli Minister that gets classified informantion.

Then He befriended the super anti semite Prof.Said ,better known as the "Ugly Rat".

Then he goes to the terretories and plays music for those who yell 'Kill the Jews ' day and night.

To me ,he is nothing but a stupid man that thinks that he is the smartest guy around and that everyone else are just dumb and stupid and he knows best what is best for Israel even better then the Israelies themselves,let alone the elected officials of the State of Israel.

By the way I have a Cd of him playing Mendelssohn's songs without words.I must say that I dont like his Mendelssohn playing at all.

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Post by Harvested Sorrow » Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:18 pm

I agree with Ralph.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:14 am

I was surprised about the Said connection too.
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Post by Lance » Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:14 am

Saulsmusic wrote:The Arrogant Barnboim forcefuly injected Wagner's music into the Israeli Audiance without thier consent.

Then this shameful conductor preeched in the Israeli Knesset as to what Israel should and should not do in its political arena.As if though he is an Israeli Minister that gets classified informantion.

Then He befriended the super anti semite Prof.Said ,better known as the "Ugly Rat".

Then he goes to the terretories and plays music for those who yell 'Kill the Jews ' day and night.

To me ,he is nothing but a stupid man that thinks that he is the smartest guy around and that everyone else are just dumb and stupid and he knows best what is best for Israel even better then the Israelies themselves,let alone the elected officials of the State of Israel.

By the way I have a Cd of him playing Mendelssohn's songs without words.I must say that I dont like his Mendelssohn playing at all.
While I have never been one of Barenboim's most ardent fans, I certainly recognize his musicality and artistry. Like you, I was very disappointed with his DGG recording of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, nor did I particularly enjoy his readings of the complete Nocturnes of Chopin, also on DGG. I did rather enjoy the recordings he made of Liszt, transcriptions, and I enjoy him when he accompanies great singers such as Janet Baker. I am not a fan of his insofar as conducting is concerned, but he has, nonetheless, produced some interesting readings of great orchestral works.

Barenboim has been influenced—musically and otherwise—by some extraordinary people in his life, such as Artur Rubinstein, with he has collaborated as conductor in all five Beethoven Concertos (RCA). He has also worked with other celebrated artists, such as Pinchas Zukerman, Fischer-Dieskau, Argerich and countless others. He is respected for his musicianship.

Barenboim seems to want peace for the world. He seems to have a forgiving nature and heart. He befriends people other might wonder about, but I suspect this is all done in his quest to make the world a better place for everyone. He openly speaks his mind on musical and political subjects. It seems to me that I read somewhere that his performance of Wagner's music in Israel was done because Wagner's music is great music and should be heard by peoples the world over. Perhaps he felt it was time to stop blaming Wagner for Adolf Hitler's atrocities, and because Hitler loved Wagner's music. Is it conceivable that someone in our lifetime has to make the first step. It was very bold of him, especially to those in Israel. Is it wrong to try to take the politics out of music and enjoy the artistic merits of a great composer?

Trust me, I'm not taking sides here ... just offering thoughts on the whole Barenboim matter. Do you feel there is no place for Richard Wagner's music in Israel?

I have many Jewish friends to go to Bayreuth to hear the Ring, or to Chicago or New York whenever the Ring or any of Wagner's other operas are performed. They don't seem to be blaming Wagner for what the madman Hitler did, though we also know that Wagner was an anti-Semite. But who did he call upon to conduct his operas while he was alive, always the best Jewish musicians and conductors. What a paradox.

There is already too much hatred in the world. I don't think it's wise to have hateful feelings for a performing artist, painter, writer, poet, or anyone who airs his/her views, something we all, at least in the USA, have a right to do.
Last edited by Lance on Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by pizza » Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:24 am

Lance wrote:
Trust me, I'm not taking sides here ... just offering thoughts on the whole Barenboim matter. Do you feel there is no place for Richard Wagner's music in Israel?

I have many Jewish friends who go to Bayreuth to hear the Ring, or to Chicago or New York whenever the Ring or any of Wagner's other operas are performed. They don't seem to be blaming Wagner for what that madman Hitler did, though we also know that Wagner was an anti-Semite. But who did he call upon to conduct his operas while he was alive, always the best Jewish musicians and conductors. What a paradox.

.
Whether Wagner's music has a place in Israel isn't the issue where criticism of Barenboim's playing of it is concerned. Israelis listen to Wagner; walk into any Tower Records store in Israel and you'll find plenty of Wagner CDs. It's the way he did it after the issue had been raised and decided before the concert and where he had promised not to play Wagner in deference to Holocaust victims and others who are offended by the music. He tried to justify his breach of trust by claiming the Wagner encore was announced and played after the concert and that anyone who didn't want to hear it could leave before it was played. That simply underscores his disingenuousness; first, he knew well in advance his own intentions and refused to reveal them; second, those who paid to hear the concert paid to hear encores as well as the main program and shouldn't have needed to leave; third, he was a guest conductor, not the music director or management and had no right to foist his personal ideology and preferences on patrons who attended believing that he would keep his word.

It isn't unusual for anti-Semites to engage and even to praise Jews for many reasons if it suits them. Jewish doctors secretly treated Nazi bigwigs at their behest. Hitler himself offered composer Emmerich Kalman "honorary Aryan status" because he enjoyed his operettas. Kalman was smart enough to refuse and fled Austria before it was too late. Vincent D'Indy, a rabid anti-Semite was effusive in his praise of Alkan's musicianship. Erhard Milch, deputy to Luftwaffe Chief Hermann Goering was a field marshal and rumors of Milch's Jewish identity circulated widely in Germany in the 1930s. Goering falsified Milch's birth record and when others protested about having a Jew in the Nazi high command, Goering replied, "I decide who is a Jew''.

And on and on ad nauseum.

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Post by herman » Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:25 am

I think Barenboim is a great conductor, arguably the best pianist-turned-conductor in a very long time. (I don't much care for DB the pianist.)

Clearly he wants people to stop demonizing each other, and so, obviously, some people start demonizing him for this. The sad truth is some people just can't live without enemies, war and hatred.

So I'm pretty sceptical of this Divan project accomplishing anything. The people who go to these concerts already feel the same way.

(BTW this organisation clearly has an awesome publicist; I have never ever seen such an avalanche of feature articles in all serious papers internationally.)

Mr Saul, if you want to tell people somebody you don't like is really really stupid, it would be a good idea to check your spelling and grammar while you're doing so, so as to avoid looking like a kind of Rant McTrash.

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Post by Ralph » Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:17 am

Corlyss_D wrote:I was surprised about the Said connection too.
*****

Their close friendship was well known. Perhaps because both were inveterate lightning rods for attacks they felt a common bond.
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Post by Ralph » Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:22 am

From answers.com:

In 1935, Milch's ethnicity came into question when rumours began to circulate that his father, Anton Milch, was a Jew. This prompted an investigation by the Gestapo that Göring quelled by producing an affidavit signed by Milch's mother stating that Anton was not really the father of Erhard and his siblings, and naming their true father as Karl Brauer, her uncle. These events and his being issued a German Blood Certificate prompted Hermann Goering to give his famous "I decide who is and who is not a Jew" quote.
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Post by pizza » Fri Aug 12, 2005 6:22 am

herman wrote:I think Barenboim is a great conductor, arguably the best pianist-turned-conductor in a very long time. (I don't much care for DB the pianist.)

Clearly he wants people to stop demonizing each other, and so, obviously, some people start demonizing him for this. The sad truth is some people just can't live without enemies, war and hatred.

So I'm pretty sceptical of this Divan project accomplishing anything. The people who go to these concerts already feel the same way.

(BTW this organisation clearly has an awesome publicist; I have never ever seen such an avalanche of feature articles in all serious papers internationally.)

Mr Saul, if you want to tell people somebody you don't like is really really stupid, it would be a good idea to check your spelling and grammar while you're doing so, so as to avoid looking like a kind of Rant McTrash.
Clearly Barenboim is a slick opportunist who doesn't mind demonizing those poor souls who have been demonized beyond anything you could ever imagine, Hermie, and whose word is about as good as that of a used car salesman on any Western Avenue used car lot in Chicago.

I applaud anyone whose first language isn't English and is nevertheless willing to wade into these discussions with their best efforts. Keep it up, Saul. The only people who complain are those who understand you very well but don't agree with your message. Little wonder that they feel an affinity with Barenboim, who says one thing but really means something else.

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Post by herman » Fri Aug 12, 2005 6:43 am

pizza wrote:Clearly Barenboim is a slick opportunist who doesn't mind demonizing those poor souls who have been demonized beyond anything you could ever imagine, Hermie [...]
Pray whom has DB been demonizing?
pizza wrote: Little wonder that they feel an affinity with Barenboim, who says one thing but really means something else.
If you're referring to me you are making an inference that's way beyond anything I ever said. I wonder why. I have claimed no "affinity" with DB; he's obviously way smarter and more succesful than I am, plus he's engaged in totally different things.

Saulsmusic

Post by Saulsmusic » Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:02 am

Yes Im not a good speller.

Mabye becouse I lived In eastern europe,Israel and the united states and I dont realy have a first languege becouse all of them were learned while relocating to different places in the world.

But to judge a person's intelligence based on his spelling is not rite.

I know some artists that cant pronounce words correctly.
Some of them have speech and writing skill problems.
But they produce beautiful paintings and delightful music.
Surely you cant say about them that they are stupid.

I also know americans that were born here have major probelms with spelling,they cant spell well,and thats thier mother languege and thats the only languege they speak,English.

Me on the other hand,i might not be the best English speller but I speak English,Hebrew,georgian fluently,and understand some russian.

So if i had a choice MR.HERMAN to choose between speaking one languege and spelling it perfectly and knowing 4 langueges I'll choose the latter anytime.

About Wagner:


From the Book Im reading :"Felix Mendelssohn-A Life in Music" By R.Larry.Todd.

On Page 316:


"Another young Composer also held Felix in High Esteem.On April 11,1836,the impecunious Richard Wagner,music director of a provincial theater in Magdeburg,sent Felix a score of a symphony in C major,written in 1831 when Wagner was eighteen and perfromed at the Gewandhaus in 1833 by Felix's predecessor,Pohlenz.Heavily influenced by Beethoven,Wagner's youthful essay included as its centerpiece an Andante in A minor redolent of a soulful Allegrtto of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.By 1834 Wagner was assimilating Mendelssohnian features into his style.Thus ,the E major overture to his second opera,Die Feen(The Fairies),opens with a Pianissimo chords reminiscent of the Midsummer Night's Dream Overture.And in 1835,for his incidental music to Theodor Apel's Drama Columbus,Wagner produced an overture strikingly indebted to another musical voyage,Felix's Meeresstille und gluckliche Fahrt(The calm Sea Overture),which Wagner had conducted in Magdeburg(in 1879 Wagner would admit that he was guilty of plagiarism).His letter of April 1836 makes it clear that the symphony was a gift;all that he requested was that Felix read through the score and offer suggestions,so that the two might become closer.But curiously,Felix never acknowledged the gift,and the score disappeard.Years later,in 1874,Wagner maintained to Cosima that Felix deliberately destroyed the manuscript,"perhaps becouse he detected in it a talent that disagreeable to him.So began a strained musical relationship that would have profound consequences for German music and culture at mid-century."


Some critical observations on the quintessential black spot of Classical music.


Observation number 1:

If indeed Jews cant write music that can "move the soul" so then Why would you Wagner incorporate musical ideas and phrases by Mendelssohn the Jew into youre own music?

Observation number 2:

Why harbor bad feelings against Felix,knowing that he didnt ask you to send him anything and that he was perhaps one of the most sought after composers holding ten jobs?mabye he didnt have the time to read through your score?MABYE HE DIDNT WANT TO,it was his right.Mabye he read it and forgot about it? but to claim that he "deliberatley destroyed the manuscript" is idiotic.

Observation number 3:

Imagine Paul Canon sending one of his Bass concertos to one of today's most famous conductors,perhaps Mazur,and he asks Mazur to "Take a Glance at it,so we might become closer ".3 months pass,no responce from Mazur.6 months pass,still no answer.2 years,not a word from Lipzig.Paul gets all angry and tells his Girlfriend that "Mazur had deliberately Destroyed the concerto becouse he detected a talnet that was disagreeable to him".If Paul had realy said that we all would have think that he acted extremly and totaly absurd,Yet this is what Wagner said to his wife Cosima.Totaly absurd.

Observation number 4:


If indeed Jews cant produce any art that can touch the soul like you claimed Wagner then why you were Quoated by the Famous Musician Huns Von Bulow that about Menelssohn that he was: "The Greatest specificaly musical Genius the world has had since Mozart". ?


Observation number 5:

If you were angry about Mendelssohn then you could have had that anger only to him ,but not,you took that anger that you had on Mendelssohn and trasformed it as an Agenda against the Jewish people and had inspired mad man to play your music while millions were sent to thier deaths.You couldnt swallow your arrogance and accept the fact that Mendelssohn didnt owe you anything and nothing and you have judged him and thought the worst of him,knowing very well that Mendelssohn was the last person in the world to go agaisnt musicaly talented people.Giving lessons to hunders of musicians in europe ,opening the conservatory in Lipzig and doing countless concerts for charity benefits to please people with music and educate them about it,surely all of this actions by Mendelssohn destroy all the lies that you have formulated agaisnt him and against all Jewish Musicians and against the Jewish people in general.

So in my eyes barenboim had some nerve to play this disgusting man's music in Israel especialy when holocoust survivors were present in the hall.Shame on barenboim,he doesnt get my respect.

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Post by Ralph » Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:10 am

Saul,

While I don't agree with much that you have posted, your familiarity with English is wholly irrelevant both to critique of your thoughts and your intelligence. I have foreign-born law students who have not fully mastered English, often especially not spelling and syntax, and frequently they are among the best class participants and the brightest.

Please don't take seriously any aspersions on your language ability. Frankly that kind of comment is very un-American.
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Post by Barry » Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:41 am

I think of D.B. as someone who is well-intentioned, but who has a habit of overstepping his bounds and doing things that are innapropriate, and at times harmfull to some, albeit unintentionally so.

For the record, I've never liked anything I've heard by him on the piano, but I do think he's probably one of the better conductors working today, at least for the core Austro-German orchestral repertoire.
Last edited by Barry on Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by pizza » Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:44 am

herman wrote:
pizza wrote:Clearly Barenboim is a slick opportunist who doesn't mind demonizing those poor souls who have been demonized beyond anything you could ever imagine, Hermie [...]
Pray whom has DB been demonizing?
It should be obvious that I'm referring to Holocaust victims and others who were grossly offended and were required to leave a concert where Wagner's music was about to be played, contrary to the agreement he made with the management in deference to their feelings beforehand. Some critics referred to Barenboim's despicable act as an attempt to commit cultural rape. I agree.

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Post by Peter Schenkman » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:19 am

I suppose I’m in the minority on this one. I’ve always considered Barenboim one of the very finest pianists of his generation. His conducting on the other hand has almost always fallen flat, at least to my ears.

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Post by premont » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:27 am

Saulsmusic,

Maybee I am shocking naive, but I never understood the dichotomy jew -not jew. Who maintains this aspect and why. Aren´t we human beings all of us.

I don´t like Wagners music - it is not to my taste, even if I respect his artistic level. But Wagner the man doesn´t bother me, and he should not be accused of Hitlers crimes.

On the other hand, if you don´t like Barenboim the man, don´t reject his artistic genius for that reason. Have you ever heard his recordings Mozart piano concertos with ECO or his first cycle of Beethoven pianosonatas, both for EMI?

Regards,

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Post by herman » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:32 am

pizza wrote:
herman wrote:
pizza wrote:Clearly Barenboim is a slick opportunist who doesn't mind demonizing those poor souls who have been demonized beyond anything you could ever imagine, Hermie [...]
Pray whom has DB been demonizing?
It should be obvious that I'm referring to Holocaust victims and others who were grossly offended and were required to leave a concert where Wagner's music was about to be played, contrary to the agreement he made with the management in deference to their feelings beforehand. Some critics referred to Barenboim's despicable act as an attempt to commit cultural rape. I agree.
Of course you agree. I really don't have an opinion on that Wagner in Israel issue. However, you said DB was "demonizing pour souls" and he didn't - demonizing being calling someone a demon, i.e. an evil person.

So that was two misses in one post: the demonizing and the affinity thing.

And I commented on Sauls grammar and spelling not because I think those things are all-important, but because Saul was calling DB "stupid" - and in that case I think you're inviting some scrutiny.

Ralph, maybe it's un-American to comment on grammar, but that's irrelevant, isn't it? I'm not an American, and this forum is not in America. (And btw this topic isn't either.) Also, "American" does not equal "good" (as in "American wine"). It's just a place of abode.
Last edited by herman on Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by premont » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:35 am

herman wrote: Mr Saul, if you want to tell people somebody you don't like is really really stupid, it would be a good idea to check your spelling and grammar while you're doing so, so as to avoid looking like a kind of Rant McTrash.
This is a unworthy remark for the respectable person, I thought you were. Shame on you.

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Post by herman » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:38 am

Have you read those posts, premont?

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Post by premont » Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:07 am

herman wrote:Have you read those posts, premont?
Yes, I read it afterwards, as your penultimate post crossed my latest post.

I still think though, that your remark about Saulsmusics spelling et.c. was improper. Observe that I write "improper" and not "misplaced".

Like you, I live in a small, free country in Europe, and I didn´t learn English from birth. I should have become very upset, If you had written in this way to me.

Regards,

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Post by herman » Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:29 am

premont wrote:Like you, I live in a small, free country in Europe, and I didn´t learn English from birth. I should have become very upset, If you had written in this way to me.
I understand. But, you see, you take the trouble to write well, when you post, plus as far as I know, you don't write badly phrased posts arrogantly calling someone stupid.

That's a huge difference.

I would never have commented on Saul's writing skills if he hadn't started talking about DB being stupid. Other people have done so, btw, calling Saul on his spelling of the word schmuck.

Sorry to have disappointed you nonetheless. Which is your "small, free country" if I may ask?

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:08 am

Com'on, guys! Have we sunk so low as to use spellings as an excuse for beating up on people we disagree with? On a board with many international visitors, many who do not have English as a first language?

We're more imaginative than that! We have higher standards than that. We can beat up on them for much more impressive and cogent policy reasons. So let's raise the tone here!
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Post by premont » Fri Aug 12, 2005 12:23 pm

herman wrote: I would never have commented on Saul's writing skills if he hadn't started talking about DB being stupid.

Which is your "small, free country" if I may ask?

IMO Saulsmusic´s use of the word "stupid" in the actual context is a little childish, and I should be inclined to disregard it.

My small free country is Denmark.

Saulsmusic

Post by Saulsmusic » Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:13 pm

Herman,

How long does it take you to write a single post?

20 minutes,40 minutes or an hour and a half?

All that pressure of spelling words correctly is upon you now.

The moment you make a mistake,people will jump on you and tell you !!!!
SEE????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


SEE????!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LOOK WHOS TALKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So keep on sweating hermy.....


I on the other hand have much more important things to do then worrie if i spelled Herman or hearmen...


Dont forget to get yourself an extra Puffs box just in case... :wink:

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:45 pm

premont wrote:Maybee I am shocking naive, but I never understood the dichotomy jew -not jew. Who maintains this aspect and why. Aren´t we human beings all of us.
Just looking for information here when I ask, "Have you noticed the 40 year campaign of the Arabs ensure that Europeans side with them against the Jews and especially against Israel, to turn the plucky little state that could make the desert bloom into the heirs of the Nazi death camp reputation?"
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Post by premont » Fri Aug 12, 2005 3:06 pm

Corlyss_D wrote: "Have you noticed the 40 year campaign of the Arabs ensure that Europeans side with them against the Jews and especially against Israel, to turn the plucky little state that could make the desert bloom into the heirs of the Nazi death camp reputation?"
Thank God if it is that simple, even I can understand it.

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