Why not Gruppen for refugees?

Why not Gruppen for refugees?


norman lebrecht

February 09, 2016

Three Berlin orchestras – the Philharmoniker, the Konzerthausorchester and the Staatskapelle – and giving a joint invitation concert for refugees on March 1 with chief conductors Simon Rattle, Iván Fischer and Daniel Barenboim.

They will play works by Mozart, Prokofiev and Beethoven.

Three orchs, three maestros – how often do they get together? It’s a missed opportunity for Gruppen.

stockhausen sweater


Sonderkonzert für Flüchtlinge und Helfende am 1. März 2016 in der Philharmonie

Willkommen in unserer Mitte

Die Berliner Philharmoniker, das Konzerthausorchester Berlin und die Staatskapelle Berlin geben in der Philharmonie unter der Leitung von Sir Simon Rattle, Iván Fischer und Daniel Barenboim ein Konzert für Flüchtlinge und Helfende.

Am Dienstag, dem 1. März 2016 um 18 Uhr laden die Berliner Philharmoniker, das Konzerthausorchester Berlin und die Staatskapelle Berlin Flüchtlinge, ihre Familien sowie Helferinnen und Helfer zu einem Konzert in die Philharmonie ein. Die drei Orchester, ihre Chefdirigenten Daniel Barenboim, Iván Fischer und Sir Simon Rattle und die Intendanten möchten mit dem Konzert Menschen, die aus ihrer Heimat geflohen sind, willkommen heißen und zugleich den vielen Helferinnen und Helfern für ihr haupt- und ehrenamtliches Engagement danken.

Daniel Barenboim, Iván Fischer und Sir Simon Rattle: „Musik ist unsere internationale Sprache, die die Menschen überall erreicht und berührt. Als Musiker fühlen wir uns auf der ganzen Welt willkommen. Wir wünschen uns, dass dies auch für Menschen gilt, die vom Schicksal schwer getroffen sind und die durch Krieg, Hunger oder Verfolgung gezwungen wurden, ihre Heimat zu verlassen. Mit unserem gemeinsamen Konzert möchten wir den geflüchteten Familien ein Zeichen des Willkommens geben sowie ihren Helferinnen und Helfern gegenüber unseren Dank und unsere Anerkennung zum Ausdruck bringen.“


  • Milka says:

    What a hypocritical feel good event this will be .

  • Zenaida says:

    It will be interesting to see how this event plays out. As it says on the website:
    “Employees and volunteer helpers of aid organisations, institutions, associations or initiatives can register refugees and helpers online for the concert on this site. Tickets are free of charge. Please note that for organisational reasons, only group applications from organisations can be considered.”
    http://www.berliner-philharmoniker.de/en/concerts/calendar/details/23677/ (in English)

  • John Borstlap says:

    This is an excellent and beautiful gesture. But ‘Gruppen’? What would refugees think of the European culture they hope to integrate into?

    If a right-wing party would get its hands on the project, it would certainly want to program ‘Gruppen’ as an anti-immigration deterrant:


    Maybe recordings of ‘Gruppen’ could be used in the fight against ISIS, seems to be more appropriate and effective.

  • MacroV says:

    I assume they’re using the classic November 1989 concert – days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, played on a Sunday morning for East Germans – as the inspiration. Good for them; maybe they’ll inspire someone. And don’t go thinking that there aren’t any Syrian refugees who don’t know their music.

  • Holly Golightly says:

    Jim includes a link which shows a Syrian orchestra and sarcastically alludes to ‘cultural suicide’. But he’s really using the very same tactic that he’s criticizing Doug for; namely, using the actions and behaviour of a very few people to describe/define that of the majority. It’s not a counter argument.

    And don’t try and define the entire body of anti-muslim activists in Germany as Pegida. That simply isn’t the truth. And Germany isn’t the only country with such activists. It would suffice to accept that there are a significant number of people very disturbed in Europe about mass immigration as it is currently undergong, and that there are also people within that very immigrant group who will go on to make a very meaningful contribution the the society through integration. But there are also very many who will not and who have already caused problems.

    Denialism isn’t effective,

    • jim says:

      Yes, not all “anti-muslim activists” aren’t members of Pegida, but they are just as vile. Yes, there are important discussions to have, but campaigning against an entire religion isn’t the way to go about it.

      • Holly Golightly says:

        People are allowed to dissent; at least, they used to be. And it’s not the entire religion (eg. Indonesia) that they’re talking about. It’s the huge numbers of single middle eastern males who don’t have the same cultural values as those of the west. We all want peace and one way to get that is to make sure we’re all on the same page; that we treat women with equality, that we aren’t interested in arranged marriages with under-aged girls etc. And listening to music, dancing and singing with women are not considered sin!!

        These things are now on the table thanks to a tsunami of arrivals all at once. If you don’t think there will be social change and consequences from all this, then I want what you’re having!!

        • Holly Golightly says:

          And, also, neither of these two men is ‘vile’ nor are they members of Pegida. And they won’t be silenced by bullying:


          • jim says:

            I’m sorry, I don’t buy your ignorant painting of all followers of Islam with the same brush. Yes, there are followers of Islam with repugnant views, just as there are followers of all religions, and atheists who believe horrible things and commit atrocious crimes. But anybody who is “anti-muslim” is a bigot, plain and simple. It’s certainly true that women are mistreated in many Muslim-majority countries, but what about in Turkey? I suppose you’d say their Muslim values are repressing women. Or Senegal, where 92% of the population is Muslim, and they rnk in the top 10 in the world for female representation in parliament. Much better to take immigrants from Japan, ranked 119 in the world. Or Eritrea, a Christian majority country? Women must be treated very well there. Oh right, they have 90% FGM there. And I suppose we will hold up Any attempt to generalize and say that Islam is a problem is quite simply bigotry. And if you think that Muslims don’t make music, sing, or dance, well, that says all we need to know about your knowledge of the subject matter.

          • Gerhard says:

            Jim, I guess you haven’t read the interview Holly has linked? One of the two men interviewed is a Muslim, and he outlines very clearly why there are in fact some problems with this religion that don’t exist in the same way with other religions, at least not anymore at our point in history. If you are talking about broad brushes, you yourself are using the broadest brush imaginable to vilify anyone who wants to understand what is going on right now, but is not prepared to ignore right from the outset any role the Islam as a religion may play in this.
            But getting back to the original theme of this thread, I think this concert is an excellent initiative in itself, and it couldn’t get improved anymore by a programming of “Gruppen” 😉

          • Gerhard says:

            BTW, the refugee orchestra you provided the link is a wonderful initiative as well. Just to make this completely clear, I’m neither against Muslims nor against refugees. What I am against are PC and the pressuring to silence differenciated thoughts because one doesn’t share them.

  • Michael Endres says:

    @ Jim The overall treatment of women and gays/lesbians, freedom of speech and treatment of other religions and minorities in most of today’s countries that subscribe to Islam are well documented.
    I have no desire of such concepts being imported to where I live.
    Genuine refugees of war torn areas are welcome, but it is not unreasonable to expect that they accept the laws of the country that hosts them, even if it contradicts their own belief system.
    End of story.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The majority of refugees, including many young families, wish no other thing than to become European, they carry European ideals of freedom, rule of law, and tolerance in their heart. For them, religion is merely a minor, private consideration. Forgotten the Arab spring? That also happened in Syria among young people, and it is mainly these people who now come to the place which inspired them. In all the images in the media of refugees, I did not spot a single burka, and many women / girls did not wear head scarfs – that says something.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Great video. Age-old religions are full of wisdom and nonsense in probably equal measure. It is just a matter of interpretation according to your own intelligence and human standards. Let’s say that in Islam, the crazy violent bits are more prominently visible than in the Christian Old Testament, but there is enough common sense in it to reassure muslems that it is allright to be peaceful. It seems to be equally clear though, that Christianity developed over the ages, forced by developments in western culture, and Islam – after a flowering of enlightened thought in medieval times – fell back upon orthodoxy and got terribly behind the times. Also there are clever, covert twists of reasoning in Islam concerning non-Muslems which you would not find in this way in Christianity, which can easily be picked-up by equally twisted people. Orthodoxy creates bigotted arrogance, as the Iranian president recently showed, objecting to the presence of wine on the lunch table with Hollande, instead of have the French president drinking his wine and have his own glass left untouched.

        The differences are not between the free West and backward Islam, but between levels of civilizational development. As the more than 1000 cases of violent attacks on German asylum centres in 2015 demonstrate, that difference goes right through the boundaries of nations.

      • Gerhard says:

        Mr. Aslan is perfectly right to rebuff several arguments in a context where one can presume that they have really been raised. The claim that FGM would be a muslim phenomenon is absurd for instance, and everybody who really wants to know will also know this. But just for the record, the only one who has mentioned FGM so far in this thread is you yourself.
        Aslan is also perfectly right in talking about violent Christians and even Buddhists. They do exist quite the same as violent Muslims. But the point I find very disquieting is that the latter have valid theological arguments for their violence within the framework of their belief, a point he fails to address or even to mention.

        • John Borstlap says:

          I think that is true, but you have to search the koran for it carefully and leave out a lot of other things. There is no coherent belief system in Islam, it is a collection of wise and unwise meditations and practical prescriptions to tame the desert dwellers of old. (A muslem friend of mine who is not much interested in religion, only takes the koran to read a bit in it, randomly, when she has a head ache.)

          • Gerhard says:

            To everyone who is interested to understand the ISIS phenomenon better I would recommend to read this article:
            It seems to be a grave mistake to conclude from their insane brutality that they are not more than a bunch of murderous psychopaths. There is good reason to believe that there is more behind all of this than just simple primitive bloodthirst. And having wrong assumptions about one’s enemy has never lead to a better defense.
            And @Jim: As one can see over and over again, ISIS is not less of a threat to most other muslims than it is to non- muslims. So this is by no means an anti-muslim topic.

  • Stephen says:

    The authorities know that among the genuine refugees are jihadists with fake passports sent to set up terrorist cells throughout Europe. Whether these were among the molesters and rapists is not known. And how are the authorities to know which refugees are genuine?

    • John Borstlap says:

      That is a great concern in Germany and the subject of much effort and logistic organisation. It is the numbers which makes this very difficult, but they are trying. The most important thing is that the genuine refugees are not suffering from measures that are not meant for them….. especially the children.

  • Ellingtonia says:

    I see that Jim the resident “Corbyinista” is back on the board preaching his left wing venom. For those interested go to YouTube and search for Douglas Murray and the late Christopher Hitchens for a rational and damning indictment of islam.
    No doubt Jim thinks that cultural norms such as child abuse, mysoginy, wife rape, wife beating, stoning of women, killing of gays, killing of those leaving islam, denying young girls and education by throwing acid in their faces (or killing them) are perfectly reasonable behaviours that we should integrate into our society……….I think not!

  • Holly Golightly says:

    Here’s something for the lefty luvvy denialists on here!! Listen and learn:


    • Gerhard says:

      I found your first linked interview very interesting, because it was differentiated, thoughtful, and intellectually honest. This Tea Party propaganda stinks, because it displays the exact opposite of these qualities. Shame!

    • Mick says:

      Excellent video, and the whole channel seems quite interesting too, although many of the things being said in those clips are quite obvious to everyone in their right mind. It remains to hope that more young people become influenced by that kind of sober thinking in the interest of our future survival.

    • Milka says:

      on your suggestion Listen and learn -one comes away thinking
      that he is so full of it that he might need to drink golytely on a regular basis .