Barenboim news: The son also rises

Barenboim news: The son also rises


norman lebrecht

December 16, 2016

press release:

Violinist Michael Barenboim releases his debut solo album in January 2017 featuring the unusual juxtaposition of Bach, Bartók and Boulez. Three works demanding huge technical capabilities and pushing the boundaries of the violin’s playability, the album includes J.S. Bach’s Sonata in C Major BWV1005, Bartók’s Sonata Sz.117 and Boulez’s Anthèmes I & II. The latter, which Michael Barenboim recorded at IRCAM, is a celebration of a long history of collaboration between the late composer and the soloist, who worked on Anthèmes together….

Michael Barenboim was brought up in a multicultural environment between Berlin and Paris, is fluent in several languages and studied Philosophy at the Sorbonne.

photo: © Chris Christodoulou/Lebrecht Music&Arts



  • Cutting Edge says:

    From the biography section on his website: “Born in Paris and brought up in Berlin, with studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Rostock under Axel Wilczok and at L’Université Paris-Sorbonne in philosophy, Barenboim knows no language or artistic boundaries.” Errrrrrr…what??

    Tellingly: no awards from international violin competitions are mentioned. Not even the favourite trick of writing “won the xx competition” when really it was sixth prize. So is he above such mundane pursuits? Or are “connections” the key here?

    • The Ghost of Carlos Kleiber says:

      Connections? Who knows. It seems pretty unlikely that Daniel Barenboim’s son wouldn’t have been introduced to some helpful folk along the way.

      That said: the repertoire he’s chosen on this disc leaves absolutely no place at all to hide. So for once, all you need to judge his abilities is your ears. He’d be incredibly foolish to record works like these if he wasn’t up to it.

      That biog is nauseating nonsense; though it’s no worse than being told that yet another new artist is “one of the most exciting young XYZs” around.

      • David Osborne says:

        Ahem, the boy can play, no doubt about that! But seriously though do you really think if he through in a few wrong notes in the Boulez (deliberate or accidental) anyone would notice?

        • Andrew Condon says:

          No! Totally over-rated as a composer with no redeeming features whatsoever. It’s all cacophonous trash IMHO.

        • Christopher Culver says:

          “But seriously though do you really think if he through in a few wrong notes in the Boulez (deliberate or accidental) anyone would notice?”

          In Boulez’s late works, which restore thematic writing, poor interpretations do stand out even to layman listeners unfamiliar with the score itself. Compare the many recordings of “Incises” that are now available if you want to see a broad range of performance quality.

          • David Osborne says:

            Well I must say his later compositions were particularly advanced then if it actually became possible to discern whether or not a wrong note had been played! (btw I’ve heard these pieces they’re pretty good.) It’s not actually his music I have a problem with…

      • Sue says:

        Love your username! Kleiber was a great, great hero of mine! What a man! Even his ghost is better than most modern conductors.

  • Gideon Flusser says:

    The young Barenboim had been playing for the last years at the Jerusalem chamber music festival, organized by his mother, Elena Bashkirova. He is a mediocre violinist. Each of the works he appeared in sounded like “music minus one” – surrounded by superb, world class musicians it was a very sad sight. And any hope that he would improve for the next festival was proven wrong.

    • Andrew Condon says:

      A “mediocre violinist”? I somehow don’t think so. Anyone who has stood up in the Musikverein to play the Schoenberg Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic, as he has, can hardly be described as that – whatever one’s views on family influence etc may be.

  • Virenque says:

    Hear him in Brahms double concerto with Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne. That was superb.

  • Doug says:

    Better headline: Barenboim News: the Sycophants Also Rise

  • Peter says:

    If you are the son of prominent musicians, and are good enough to stand on your own feet, and have integrity, you keep an arms length distance to your parent’s activities and prove yourself independently. You do not play in your mother’s festival and as concert master in your father’s orchestra. You just don’t do that, because you are good enough that you don’t need that. Or you are not…

  • Bruce says:

    Fugue from the Bartok solo sonata:

  • Sonofagun says:

    The son rises because the father has connections. Nothing new, but please lets not pretend he is an outstanding violinist. Far from it. Many students of leading conservatoires play better than this :

  • Daan van Aalst says:

    Somehow, both Bach and Bartok inspire to investigate and combine, true masterpieces! I had the honour to record Sarah Kapustins recent album on Et’cetera with the same pieces by Bach, Bartok, combined with a new piece by David Fulmer ‘Sirens’. It shows us that there is a line in history. There is never an end, good to experience this these days…

  • George Xavier says:

    Peter is right!
    Musical genius gene travels badly across generations.
    With a few notably exceptions (Kleiber father and son, Oistrach, Gilels,Kogan clans) the known “second-generation” are at the most honest artisans when not straight failures!