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Merkel joins Macron to kick off Debussy year

January 21, 2018 by norman lebrecht

19 comments.


The two most avid concertgoers among world leaders, Angela Merkel and Emanuel Macron, came together at the Philharmonie in Paris on Friday night to inaugurate the centennial year for Claude Debussy, who died within earshot of German gunfire in March 1918.

Daniel Barenboim opened the ceremonies with a performance of the Préludes.

The Debussy year is the French president’s pet project. It is being curated by an Express music journalist, Bertrand Dermoncourt, and will involve the creation of a new festival at Debussy’s birthplace, Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

More here.

 


Comments (19)

  1. Pedro says:

    Barenboim played tge same program last Wednesday in Brussels. It was an outstanding recital with his special piano. Martha Argerich was also in the audience and, judging by her frenetic applause, seemed to enjoy the results.

    1. Sue says:

      Have you been able to detect the differences between Barenboim’s ‘special’ Steinway and the usual concert variety of that brand of piano. I’ve heard it in the Musikverein and, honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference.

      1. Pedro says:

        The basses seemed more muted than in the traditional Steinways but at the other side of the spectrum Barenboim managed to play some crystal-clear notes which, in my experience, were absent in his previous recitals. Michelangeli did that also in his truncated piano.

        1. Sue says:

          Thanks for that; I simply didn’t hear it but that could be a function of age!!

  2. Delphine1962 says:

    More to the point: Is it not wonderful that two leaders of state have the taste, grace, intelligence and sensitivity to take some some time from their incredibly stressed schedules to attend a performance commemorating musical genius?

    1. Sue says:

      Plenty of past leaders from both countries would have done exactly the same.

      1. Bruce says:

        Yes, but these are the ones we have now.

        1. Sue says:

          What’s your point?

    2. RUPERT CHRISTIANSEN says:

      … and aren’t embarrassed about it either – in fact, they see it redounds to their credit

      1. Ellingtonia says:

        In what way is attending a classical music concert to their credit? Are you suggesting that this is an indicator of their political expertise and that we should judge politicians on their musical taste. Personally, I would be more impressed to see them both at the front of a gig by Elbow!

        1. RUPERT CHRISTIANSEN says:

          It’s not being embarrassed about liking this music that matters (other politicians go all mealy mouthed and try to hide their preference for music that their PR people fear would be classified by the populace as ‘elitist’)

          1. Ellingtonia says:

            Classical music and opera is elitist, why can no one have the balls to actually admit it. One has only to look back at the choices on Desert Island Discs by politicians to see how times have changed. At one time every politician chose “classical pieces” as they perceived it gave them intellectual credibility and one should not be seen hob nobbing with the popular / jazz fraternity. Today, more politicians are prepared to say they prefer Led Zeppelin to Brahms, or Leonard Cohen to Placido Domingo, and why not? If some politicians are too embarrassed to say they do not like classical music, that says more about them as individuals than it does about the music e.g Gordon Brown. But please don’t ascribe “credit” to a couple of politicians for just going to a classical music concert……..moreover, the word on the street is that Merkel is really a Krafwerk fan!

          2. Ellingtonia says:

            Classical music and opera is elitist, why can no one have the balls to actually admit it. One has only to look back at the choices on Desert Island Discs by politicians to see how times have changed. At one time every politician chose “classical pieces” as they perceived it gave them intellectual credibility and one should not be seen hob nobbing with the popular / jazz fraternity. Today, more politicians are prepared to say they prefer Led Zeppelin to Brahms, or Leonard Cohen to Placido Domingo, and why not? If some politicians are too embarrassed to say they do not like classical music, that says more about them as individuals than it does about the music e.g Gordon Brown. ……..moreover, the word on the street is that Merkel is really a Krafwerk fan!

          3. The View from America says:

            Just in case we didn’t get that, “Classical music and opera is elitist, why can no one have the balls to actually admit it. One has only to look back at the choices on Desert Island Discs by politicians to see how times have changed. At one time every politician chose “classical pieces” as they perceived it gave them intellectual credibility and one should not be seen hob nobbing with the popular / jazz fraternity. Today, more politicians are prepared to say they prefer Led Zeppelin to Brahms, or Leonard Cohen to Placido Domingo, and why not? If some politicians are too embarrassed to say they do not like classical music, that says more about them as individuals than it does about the music e.g Gordon Brown. ……..moreover, the word on the street is that Merkel is really a Krafwerk fan!”

          4. Ellingtonia says:

            I did not intend to post twice, the first time it appeared to reject my posting, so I tried again. Hence the dual posting…………..but thank you for amplifying and agreeing with my sentiments, much appreciated!

          5. Sue says:

            I find the idea that a French or German leader wouldn’t be into classical music absolutely unfathomable. Of course they would!! But they probably like other things as well and, last time I looked, that’s still permissible!

  3. Rob van der Hilst says:

    Debussy back in Paris from a staged performance in Rouen of his Pelléas.
    One of his barbuddies And Claude, how was it?
    CD: Terrible, one could hear e v e r y t h i n g.
    🙂

  4. Anon says:

    This side of the pond our leaders follow the motto ‘Grab them by Debussy’.

    1. clarrieu says:

      Best comment of the entire thread.


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