Sunday, February 26, 2017
The season will see the Queen Elizabeth Hall reopen and visits from Barenboim’s West-East Divan Orchestra and Rattle’s Berlin Philharmonic, while artistic director Jude Kelly spoke of the need for people to ‘bump into’ classical musicDaniel Barenboim brings his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to the Southbank Centre in London for the first time in the 2017-18 season for another first: a tribute concert to his first wife, the late cellist Jacqueline du Pré. Du Pré was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1973 and died in 1987 aged 42. The illness prevented her performing, but she dedicated her last years to working for the cause of MS research. Barenboim’s October 2017 concert will feature works by Tchaikovsky and Strauss, with the young Austrian-Persian cellist Kian Soltani as soloist, and will raise funds for the MS Society. “MS remains a cruel disease,” said Barenboim. “It can be an illness that destroys the very essence of what it means to be a human being. Every effort must be made to work towards finding a cure.” Continue reading...
The Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola has been one of my favorites… Today I heard this masterpiece performed by the Berlin Staatskapelle, with Daniel Barenboim conducting. It was wonderful. Here, for your own enjoyment, is a section of this masterpiece …
The Austrian cellist Kian Soltani, 24, has been named winner of the Leonard Bernstein Award of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festivals. A former member of Barenboim’s WestEastern Diwan Orchestra, Kian has received a bursary for the past two years from the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation. The Bernstein Prize is worth 10,000 Euros. photo: Juventino Mateo)
From a Slippedisc.com correspondent: At Friday’s Carnegie Hall performance of Bruckner’s Second Symphony with the Staatskapelle Berlin, Daniel Barenboim gave a lengthy and impromptu political speech from the stage immediately after the conclusion of the symphony. In an address that was received with cheers and a standing ovation, he remarked that ‘America has the power to make the world great’ if its politicians emphasize culture. He noted that ‘politicians have difficult lives; however, they must not make culture their last priority’, and that culture is not and does not have to be elitist. Though he did not refer directly to Donald Trump (except for the punchline and his emphasis of the date 20 January, 2017), his speech was clearly aimed at the priorities not just of the new president but of the country in general.
A recent post about Warner's re-issue of André Previn conducting the three great Tchaikovsky ballets generated much interest. So now I am highlighting another Warner reissue well worth seeking out. Daniel Barenboim's account with the English Chamber Orchestra of Mozart's piano concertos was originally recorded by EMI in Studio 1 Abbey Road with Suvi Raj Grubb as producer, and the transfer onto 10 CDs is now an astonishing bargain at sub-budget price. The recordings were made in the late 1960s and early 1970s long before Brand Barenboim became classical music's equivalent of Brand Beckham. So this is music and music making that speaks directly to our times without gratuitous intermediation. Any reader still in doubt as to Norman Lebrecht's credentials as a cultural commentator is referred to his legendary 2005 appreciation of Mozart. Norman's laudation can be read via this link and his concluding paragraph is extracted below. Mozart is a menace to musical progress, a relic of rituals that were losing relevance in his own time and are meaningless to ours. Beyond a superficial beauty and structural certainty, Mozart has nothing to give to mind or spirit in the 21st century. Let him rest. Ignore the commercial onslaught. Play the Leningrad Symphony. Listen to music that matters.No review samples used in this post. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Reluctantly also on Facebook and Twitter.
"The playing is beautiful, of course - Mr. Barenboim is one of the greatest pianists of his generation - but it's the talk that matters. It turns out that in addition to being a great pianist, Mr. Barenboim also has a knack for getting straight to the point."