Monday, September 26, 2016
Daniela Shemer, an Israeli cellist living in Frankfurt, is a player in the orchestra which is drawn from several sides of the blood-stained Mideast kaleidoscope. In the new issue of her monthly online magazine, Mount Dela , Daniela shares her experiences in the ensemble. Sample: Not all discussions are political. The WEDO works in a very particular format – it began as a youth orchestra but matured together with its musicians. Musically speaking, it grew into a professional orchestra. This positive development keeps raising questions regarding the future of the entire project. Barenboim often opens these for discussion: how do we accept new and younger musicians without sacrificing the level we have achieved? How do we make it possible for those of us who are members in other orchestras to keep participating in the Divan’s projects? These questions among others, address logistic as well as ideological issues to which various solutions were suggested over the years. When it comes to discussing, be it on political, social or musical topics – the talks do not end with the official discussions which are timed into our schedules. This is only where they begin. In fact, the most interesting talks happen after official meetings and in between – while eating, drinking, smoking and sight-seeing. That is when the true Barenboim-Said vision comes to life: Arabs and Israelis exchange ideas, share stories, collaborate and create brave friendships. One of the best communal inventions of the WEDO is a ceremony which we conduct every time we go on a charter flight. I do not know how old this tradition is or how it began, but every time it happens I seriously think of world peace. Right after take-off, while the flight attendant begins the flight safety demonstration, we begin our own little ritual. It includes taking off one shoe and holding on to its laces from the plane’s ceiling (demonstrating the use of an oxygen mask); creating as much noise as possible with the metal buckle of the security belt (practicing correct operation); and finally, a rather sophisticated hand-choreography (assisting the flight attendant with the marking of the plain’s doors). If you ever wanted to see Arabs and Israelis cooperate perfectly in tune – you would have to join one of the WEDO’s private flights. Read on here.
After 12 years with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in Canada, Bill Eddins has decided not to renew his contract at the end of the season. An engaging, outspoken character, Eddins will be titled emeritus music director at the relatively early age of 52. He has also been principal guest conductor of the RTE Orchestra in Dublin and assistant to Daniel Barenboim in Berlin.
The conductor deals engagingly with comments and queries in three languages: Spanish, German and (mostly) English. ‘Please continue to send inquiries,’ he concludes. ‘I am very interested in your opinion.’
Toby Spence was supposed to stand in for the German star in Berlin’s Dream of Gerontius tonight. But it appears he has also pulled out. Andrew Staples is standing in at the last minute. So is Catherine Wyn-Rogers, who is replacing Sarah Connolly. Thomas Hampson is still there. Barenboim conducts. Announcement here.
The German tenor has pulled out of two concerts of Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius in Berlin next week ‘for health reasons’, the Staatsoper has announced. He is to be replaced by the UK tenor Toby Spence. The other soloists, on September 19 and 20, are Sarah Connolly and Thomas Hampson. Barenboim conducts.
From Barenboim to Blomstedt, Reich to Rossini and Argerich to Alsop, our music writers pick their highlights from the 2016 proms. Do you agree? Tell us what yours were in the comments section For me, the best concert was the one given by Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim, friends since childhood and two of the greatest musicians of our age. They were dazzling together for Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and in the Schubert four-hand duet as an encore, all followed by extracts from Tannhäuser, Götterdämmerung and Die Meistersinger that showed that Barenboim has no peers today as a Wagner interpreter. Continue reading...