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Daniel Barenboim Conducts

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Audio CD, July 26, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

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"If conflicts are one day to be solved," says the Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim, "it will only be by contact between the warring parties." The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is living proof that this is a viable goal and that music can provide the ideal environment for its attainment. In 1998, Barenboim and his friend, the late Palestinian writer and scholar Edward Said, founded a workshop for young Israeli and Arab musicians; its aim was to foster the participants' musical development and to bridge national, cultural and political differences through dialogue, communal living and shared music-making. Named after a collection of poems by Goethe, the German writer and statesman, the workshop was inaugurated at his birthplace, Weimar, in 1999, and now meets every summer in Andalusia for several weeks of intensive work, joined by a sizeable number of local musicians. The group has performed in Western Europe, the Americas, Morocco, and most recently in Ramallah.

This debut CD, recorded live, proves that it can bear comparison with veteran orchestras, even in familiar repertory staples. Combining technical polish and security, tonal beauty and transparency with youthful expressiveness, passion and exuberance, the players bring out Tchaikovsky's ardent romanticism, Verdi's dramatic somberness, Sibelius' spooky mystery. Much of the credit must go to Barenboim for melding this motley crew into a musically and interpersonally unified group and for inspiring such a fine, concentrated performance through his leadership, personality and commitment. The recording includes a DVD of the concert, the workshop, and a conversation between Said and Barenboim. --Edith Eisler


1. I. Andante - Allegro Con Anima
2. II. Andante Cantabile, Con Alcuna Licenza
3. III. Valse: Allegro Moderato
4. IV. Finale: Andante Maestoso - Allegro Vivace
5. Overture, La Forza Del Destino
6. Valse Triste, Op.44

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 26, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B0009YA4FS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,704 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jerome G. Jagodzinski on August 24, 2005
This is probably the best recording of a symphony for large orchestra that I have heard. I'll leave the critique of the interpretation to others. What I like about this recording is the dynamic contrast and the ability to hear individual solo instruments quite clearly. It sounds as though microphones have been placed in front of each instrument so that each part can be heard distinctly. I don't have a SACD player, just a regular CD player, and the sound is still superb!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lionel Traubman on August 30, 2005
Aside from exquisite orchestral qualities, viewing the energetic, animated, gifted Arab and Israeli musicians playing as one -- totally engaged, not disengaged -- is nothing short of a thrill. Watching this recording treasure brings both tears and a broad smile, seeing that it's not impossible for very, very possible and doable, now. Wait 'til you see how Barenboim gives and gives to these talented women and men musicians who transcend physical and emotional borders and walls for something beautiful for all humankind -- just what this recording is.

Libby and Len Traubman

San Mateo, CA

LTraubman@igc.org

[...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gerardo Ortuno Duran on February 22, 2006
Oh my goodness, very emotional. Fantastic music, very good conductor, very good interpretation, but most of all, the story behind this Orchestra is very tooching.

Very impresive execution, good sound, what Barenboin has done putting together this orchestra gives us a very strong positive message towards world peace, working with young talents from the Middle East. Greetings from Costa Rica.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Smith on December 25, 2013
If only... I am writing this, as an agnostic, on Christmas Day just after watching the DVD for the n-th time, and I am remembering the words of one of the Christmas hymns I sang as a boy, "And, lo, the days are hastening on, by prophet bards foretold, when with the ever-circling years comes round the age of gold, when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling, and the whole world give back the song that now the angels sing."

I plan to invite all the young people I know to come and watch this DVD in the coming days. It is a marvel. It can heal the world.

And it's not simply truly great performances of two masterpieces of western music that account for its wonder, it is the opportunity to watch the love, the energy, that these young Jews and Arabs bring to their music-making. (A kind of footnote: if you have lost patience with filmed orchestral performances on account of all the clichéd wandering on cue around the players, please give this filmed experience a chance: there is great BEAUTY to be found as the skillful cine-photographers and editors bring to our sharp attention one after another of the players playing as though life itself depended on what they are all engaged in.)

If I had the means to do so, I would give this DVD to every household in the world. How it is that this fabulous orchestra has not been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize is one great mystery. If only...
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