Watch Barenboim on 60 Minutes

This week’s segment, just released online.

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  • B is right with his statement that Israel will only be safe when justice is done to the Palestinians.

    Since classical music is not about music but about performers, egos, exposure, money, social engineering and politics, he can finally use this instrumentalization for something worthwhile: a symbolic gesture.

  • Well he is right about Israel and Palestine and Daniel Baremboim is a great man and a great mudsician but what all of this has to do with music?

    • A very good question. We live in a time when music is being used for extra-musical purposes because the music ITSELF is for so many people, including people working in music life, a thing that gradually retreats into a vague past which is supposed to no longer offer anything meaningful to the New Human Being of the Brave New World.

    • Music and politics have always been, and always should remain inextricably linked. That is what makes music so important.

      • So you would link the world of life-enhancing beauty with the sleazy, dishonest, compromising world of politics? Did Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Brahms, Sibelius, Mahler dabble in politics? It has helped Barenboim’s career and I don’t doubt he is sincere but he is only a recreative artist.

        • Beethoven dedicated a symphony to an emperor and then ripped up the dedication page. Mozart’s operas were wildly subversive, and recognized as such by the ruling elite, who struggled over what to do with him. Sibelius was a leading figure in Finnish nationalism, and he damned well knew it. But enjoy your nap.

          • Apologies for pedantry, but Beethoven dedicated his Symphony No. 3 to Napoleon Bonaparte, the First Consul of the French Republic. When he became the Emperor, the composer changed the dedication. The story of tearing of the front page comes from Ferdinand Ries, Beethoven’s secretary and is to be taken with the grain of salt.

            Ironically, most of the other symphonies are dedicated to various Viennese princes and aristocrats (No. 1 – Baron van Swieten, No. 2 – Prince Lichnowski, No. 4 – Count von Oppersdorff, No. 5 – Prince Lobkowitz & Count Razumowsky, etc.), No. 6 – Archduke Rudolph of Austria, No. 7 – Count von Fries). I believe these do not reflect Beethoven’s political leanings, but rather a gratitude to his patrons.

          • Sibelius was not interested in politics as such. It was through his interest in Finnish legends that he became a national figurehead. Go back to sleep and try to be better informed and more civil next time.

        • Paul Wells beat me to it Stephen but yes, that’s exactly what I think. You may need to expand your view of what politics is. It is life, everything we do is political, choosing to be apolitical is a political act. The discussion around the existence or otherwise of Bach’s deeply felt religious beliefs is another example. That is a political controversy that affects more than just music, because it shows the impossibility of isolating the creative individual from the society in which they lived. In much the same way, we discuss the involvement of Brahms, or lack thereof, in the war of the romantics.

          Mahler? well, how can we not see how that career was shaped by the politics of his time, and how his work was in many ways a response to those political forces. These may not be the reasons music matters, but their existence is sure proof that it does.

          • I think you are tending to confuse politics with morality and sociology. It is not true to say that politics is life and that everything we do (or choice we make) is “political”.

  • “Beethoven dedicated a symphony to an emperor and then ripped up the dedication page. Mozart’s operas were wildly subversive, and recognized as such by the ruling elite, who struggled over what to do with him.”
    All this is wrong: Beethoven struck out the dedication to Napoleon after he crowned himself emperor. Only “Le Nozze di Figaro” could possibly be called subversive – and certainly not “wildly” (a term quite unsuited to Mozart). One should check one’s facts before posting on a serious site like this one.

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