Barenboim to France: Nationalism is not patriotism

Barenboim to France: Nationalism is not patriotism


norman lebrecht

April 21, 2017

The former music director of the Orchestre de Paris, and briefly of the Opéra de Paris, has been speaking about this weekend’s French election.

Daniel Barenboim said he could understand the rise of nationalism in France as a protest against the tide of globalisation, but the French should be aware that the present tendency is not to be confused with patriotism.

Patriotism, said Barenboim, is inclusive. Nationalism shuts out the world.

Report here (auf Deutsch).


  • Alexander says:

    a wonderful next envoy to an educational campaign somewhere at some refugee’s camp , way to go uncle Dan 🙂

  • John Borstlap says:

    DB advocates a European cultural space and deplores the purely economic direction that the EU had taken already long ago. He is right. But the one cannot develop without the other, and a more just economic policy together with a strongly European cultural identity is obviously what is needed to prevent the EU from falling apart into entirely outdated nationalism. Since this cultural space is apparently only understandable to a minority of the various populations, next to economic reform there should also be much more attention given to cultural education everywhere, on every level. But which politicians would see some gain in such ideas? They have been bubbled-up from the same humus which has fed the one-sided economic mood of past decennia (the French candidate Macron has been minister of finance and has become a millionaire, who would trust such people?).

  • Count Tostov IV says:

    The linked report is a masterpiece of double-speak. Plus such gems as : “….müsse die EU einen Kurswechsel angehen, “hin zu einer kulturellen Gemeinschaft”‘

    That is great consolation for the bankrupt Greeks who are still taxed to death to pay off the German banks after the books were cooked to get them into the EUR, after which their politicians ran up debts of € 340 bn, or for the 40% of Spanish children under the poverty line (see latest Euractiv report). Probably getting their next meal has a higher priority than “cultural community building”

    The “East-West” divan orchestra” probably knows well why it is appearing in the affluent Northern venues.

  • Olassus says:

    France would do well to “shut out the world” for a few years and permanently remove those who don’t belong, and Barenboim would do well to shut the £#%$ up for a change.

  • herrera says:

    Barenboim is, no one would dispute, an exceptional pianist and conductor of his generation, but why people should consider him as anything more is quite beyond me. Nothing he has ever said in politics (or even in music, for that matter) is in the realm of the exceptional.

  • herrera says:

    Barenboim is, no one would dispute, an exceptional pianist and conductor, unique of his generation, but why people should regard him as far more than that is quite beyond me. Nothing he has ever said in politics (or even in music, for that matter) is in the realm of the exceptional or unique.

  • herrera says:

    Barenboim is, no one would dispute, an exceptional pianist and conductor, unique in his generation, but why people should regard him as far more than that is quite beyond me. Nothing he has ever said in politics (or even in music, for that matter) is in the realm of the exceptional much less unique.

    • Peter says:

      What makes him unique, is that not many others of comparable public exposure are saying anything. Most others are concerned securing their (monetary) base and not saying anything that could offend anyone. In other words: cowards and greedy opportunists.

  • Alexander Hall says:

    You may not always agree with Barenboim politically or even musically, but he has been exceptionally brave in challenging bigoted views in Israel and reminding successive governments that it is in their own best interests to make peace with the Palestinians. What have we had from our front-rank conductors and soloists in the wake of Brexit? A deafening silence. You may think that putting your head up above the parapet is extremely foolish, but not saying anything to enhance the UK’s musical standing in Europe or the position of foreign players in British orchestras (as many as half the string sections in some London bands are now staffed by foreign nationals) is extremely short-sighted too.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      Spot on. Let’s not forget Barenboim’s work with the West-East Divan, which is estimable both at an ideological and at a musical level.

    • Ellingtonia says:

      Which part of “Israel has no right to exist and all jews should be hunted down and killed”, which is part of the Hamas Charter, don’t you understand? Or are you one of the leftie “Arafat scarf” wearing Corbynistas?

      • Simon Behrman says:

        The Hamas Charter does not say that. It says things that are objectionable, and with which I profoundly disagree, but to try and equate them with genocidal anti-Semites is wide of the mark. Your comment simply demonstrates your ignorance and laziness in looking things up before spouting off. Yes, I’m a leftie, but I prefer colourful woollen scarfs. You must be one of part of the Trump-supporting alternative-fact crowd, who wear red baseball caps with inane slogans, and chants ‘USA!’ whenever someone disagrees with them (as you appear to like trading in stupid stereotypes).

        • Steve P says:

          Trump voter here. So, have you taken a gander at the Hamas charter? It certainly seems to indicate killing Jews is necessary.
          Also, Barenboim is a wonderful artist and humanitarian. Wish he would keep his political advice to himself, but thankfully he is still free to speak. If he had the opposite opinion, I’m sure he’d have been muzzled by now.

        • Ellingtonia says:

          The following are direct quotes from the Hamas Charter, perhaps you could get someone to explain to you what they mean…….

          “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

          “The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’”

          It is also interesting that you admit to being a leftie and then brand anyone that disagrees with your views as being a Trump supporter. Time to grow up little man!

    • Mark says:

      Gee, I haven’t heard Barenboim challenging many (or any, for that matter) of the bigoted, profoundly anti-semitic views of the PA, Hamas, Hezbollah, the ayatollahs …. those statements must have slipped right past me. I guess it’s politically correct only to criticize SOME people.

      And to Herrara, above, Barenboim may be a good conductor and he’s certainly excellent at self-promotion, but as a pianist he’s …. well …. not.
      There are few well-known pianists i find more over-rated than B.

      • Sue says:

        Bravo. Totally agree with all you’ve said. Barenboim is humorless, on top of all that. He could only dream of having half the charm of a Carlos Kleiber (not to mention the looks and talent!).

        • Stephen says:

          I am not a Barenboim fanatic but it is unfair to say he has no sense of humour – in appropriate situations, that is.

        • Mark Mortimer says:

          Ridiculous comment Sue from you whatever number. Kleiber was a great conductor but he couldn’t even play one bar as well of The Emperor Concerto as does Daniel.

          • Mark says:

            Was Kleiber a would-be piano soloist, M. Mortimer? If not, what does your comment mean?

            Kleiber was, in my opinion, a much better conductor than B. Since, as I said before, B. is not really much of a pianist, that leaves Barenboim a moderately talented musician who should shut his mouth when it comes to anything other than music, unless he wants to be truly impartial.
            My Jerusalem relatives, who lived in the same building as B’s uncle when B. was a kid, told me that B. was, in their words, a snot-nose as a teenager. Doesn’t seem he’s changed much since then.

            As to B’s and K’s senses of humor, I have no knowledge of that. When it comes to looks, however, there’s really no contest between him and Kleiber.

        • James says:

          Charm, looks, talent…fair enough.
          Yet Kleiber was a terrible truant, cancelling or abandoning very many concerts for whatever reasons. If he were the greatest of the great
          that some maintain it is odd HE didnt believe that even his 2d best was far
          better than the very best of most so why run away if not in top form?
          He is dead and so fair game for the fabulists and those given to selective nostalgia, indulging in fantasy and goony wishful thinking. If he were alive wouldnt he be simply another conductor at the mercy of the malcontents, the true believers, the haters, the silly billys,
          the dumb bunnies whose need for celebrity gossip and starry-eyed
          vulgarity is far greater than any need for music? I suspect he knew this all along. He doesnt miss much.