Barenboim jumps down and bows out

In the final act of his London Beethoven-Schoenberg cycle, Daniel Barenboim took applause on stage with the orchestra for his Strauss polka encore and then bounded downstairs to the Clore Ballroom where hundreds of people had watched the concert free on a large screen.

After four nights of intensive music making to a sell-out crowd, Barenboim could not wait apparently to get to the invisible audience, the non-payers, the future potential.

Not many conductors can be bothered to do more than conduct. Barenboim, in his late 60s, has realised that a concert no longer has to be self-limiting. It can be an active engagement with those who attend, and those who don’t.

Other maestros, take  note.

When I breakfasted on the South Bank this morning, the whole circumference was still buzzing with the energy of this compact concert series.

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