Concertmaster plays Brahms under Gaza bombardment

Concertmaster plays Brahms under Gaza bombardment


norman lebrecht

May 16, 2021

Message from Israel Philharmonic concertmaster David Radzynski:


  • Miko says:

    Very good.
    Who knows…
    I imagine it would be a trickier proposition to keep one’s bow on the string in Gaza City.

    • Gerry Feinsteen says:

      Keeping one’s bow on the string is difficult in Gaza even during relative peace, thanks to Hamas. Recall the Guardian article in 2019 when Hamas ruled that children could no longer have co-ed performances, thus leading to cancelations of orchestra concerts for students, as one example.


      “Three of the band members have already left Gaza for good due to the lack of freedoms and opportunities to develop their music careers there. One of the younger members, 16-year-old Rahaf Shamaly, is prohibited from singing on stage as well as at restaurants and cafes in Gaza, simply because she is a woman. Last year, police banned Shamaly from performing at the Jazz Journey in Palestine held by UNESCO in Gaza.

      “I live in a conservative community where culture and traditions are controlling the people. Gaza is not used to a female singer among male musicians,” said Shamaly.”

      It always amazes me to see these opnionheads on the Western Left have literally no idea that they show support for the far Right regimes of the Middle East…it is really confusing, especially considering the progressive stances members of the US congress “Squad” take that are in complete contradiction to their domestic ideals– they seem to support Hamas these days. It is quite baffling to know elected members of a government make opinions based on a few tweets’ worth of research.

      Peace to all.

      • Miko says:

        My observation was simply a perspective on bow control relative to the caliber of munitions involved.
        Your unnecessary inference that I am a “western liberal lefty” requiring a lecture on the relative merits of comparing far right Israeli politics to terrorist Islamic fundamentalism was fascinating but as it happens misguided: I have experienced cowering from hostile attack in Tel Aviv air raid shelters, so please don’t make the assumption that such experience should preclude intense empathy for Palestinian Gazans.

  • José Bergher says:

    Beautiful playing while the Hamas bastards unleash war on Israel.

    • Leif Laudamus says:

      And the Israeli bastards unleash criminally disproportionate response on Palestinian civilians. It takes 2 to tango.

      • Greg Bottini says:

        Absolutely true, Leif.

      • Jo.Y. says:

        Gone are the days when we could not answer our enemies.

      • James says:

        Actually it is a precise, necessary response on Hamas and Palestinian Jihad military facilities which are, unforgivably, embedded deep and deliberately within their own people’s civilian infrastructure – Hamas not only target Israeli civilians, they use their own people as human shields (sometimes forcing them to stay in place rather than evacuate) and if they get killed, it’s a PR victory for Hamas. Israel tries very hard to avoid civilian loss of life – how many armies send warnings before they strike? No others that I know of. You know what would likely happen if Israel hadn’t have done this? More and more attacks from Gaza (with more and more sophisticated weaponry) necessitating more and more responses; Hezbollah with its 250,000+ advanced missiles aimed at Israel would have been emboldened to start its activities again (it has remained quiet since Israel’s forceful response around a decade ago); attacks launched by Iran from its embedded positions in Syria, where it has been busy trying to create military drone factories, missile sites and naval bases (Israel has largely prevented this, thankfully), and more. All of which would lead to more civilian deaths on both sides. It is time for the international community to get to grips with the Hamas problem, and, while they’re at it, Hezbollah. In the meantime, we pray for peace on all sides.

      • AmYisroelChai says:

        Oh just shut up with that bullcrap. Imagine if any other civilized country even had one missive shot at it what would happen. Anyone who has this viewpoint is nothing but a nasty Jew hater.

      • Nathan Braude says:

        Disproportionate??? Can you imagine if Israel would retaliate IN proportion ? That would mean sending over 3000 rockets aimed specifically at civilians with the sole purpose to harm as many as possible. Cause this is exactly what Hamas does. I really hope that’s not what you wish for the people in Gaza. For now let’s pray that this all ends as soon as possible.

      • John Borstlap says:

        One wonders why the obvious solution for this eternal wound is never considered – creating an altogether new nation, with a new name (because Israel is based upon injustice), for all people in the area, and with the Western model of democracy and rule of law, and with extensive reparation measures for the Palestinians and strict outlawing of any terrorist groupings. All the mistakes taken half a century ago have been taken by former generations, so: new generations – who don’t carry responsibility – could build a new society. But well, such things are against human nature.

      • Ellingtonia says:

        Perhaps if Hamas had considered what the realistic response might be for launching hundreds of rockets into Israel they would not have put their own people at risk. But as we all know (and verified by the UN) the Palestinians have a historical propensity for firing rockets from the side of schools and hospitals and the resulting response is the killing of Palestinians, bu it is is a price they are willing to pay for the propaganda value. Do try a little research before you star banding the word “disproportionate” around!

  • Morgan says:

    A sad matter with intractable leaders on both sides. May the people be safe.

  • José Bergher says:

    Nothing can hide his message: “Neither your rockets nor your propaganda will destroy Israel.”

    • Edna says:

      Agree with you Jose. Nothing will stopped Israel to defended their own stolen lands. REMEMBERED 1967 wars against their enemies surrounded them then another war again but Israel still standing and we’re with Israel and praying for their safety as well those innocent people lives in the enemy territory who fleeing to Israel for safety.

      • José Bergher says:

        Thank you, Edna. You know history. Israel, against all odds, defended herself successfully from the attack of her her powerful enemies in 1948, 1967 and 1973. And shall continue to do anything to defend herself.

  • Annar Folleso says:

    From your headline I thought for a moment he was in Gaza, which would have been a fine (if dangerous) act of solidarity with a tormented people being massacred as we speak. But he’s in a shelter, so this must be in Israel. Time to relax a bit on the hasbara now, Lebrecht? Anyway, happy that he and his family are safe, and beautiful Brahms playing.

    • Nathan Braude says:

      If he would be in Gaza I doubt he would be playing the violin.He would be kept hostage in horrible conditions. Regarding the massacre: in contrary to Hamas ( committing double war crimes) who aims at civilians while hiding behind civilians , the IDF goes through the utmost care to minimize casualties with the innocent people of Gaza.

  • Rafael Enrique Irizarry says:

    The Concertmaster of the Israel Phil? For some reason it struck me: this individual must be a violinist of world-class credentials. Indeed, he was! That Brahms was formidable. Amidst such ugliness and senselessness, inefable beauty can still be conjured. What an artist!

  • Edna says:

    Chag Sameach! Happy Holiday to Israel under this unpleasant circumstances happening in Jerusalem and Israel with the devil intended to ruined the Nation and innocent people around the borders. May Adonai kept them safe and still playing music with his family to celebrate this special occasion. Continue to pray for Jerusalem and Israel and IDF battling against their enemies. God will prevail and win it.

    • John Borstlap says:

      But we don’t know whether God really exists. Nietzsche had already noticed that God was ‘dead’ by the end of the 19th century.

      • John Borstlap says:

        How can God not exist if Mahler regularly telephoned with Him? I read it in a book, it was told by his wife.


  • Edna says:

    Thank you to David Radzynski. Beautiful music as always. Having free access to listened to Israel Philarmonic Orchestra in my email we’re truly blessed. May you all continue playing from the heart entertaining us all with a heartfelt music. God bless Jerusalem and Israel during Shavuot Celebration but under bombardment and hiding in a safe place.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    Playing of the first rank! thanks

  • But why a German composer, noch da zu. Not that there’s anything wrong with it.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Brahms should have been more careful with where to be born, and have more futuristic insight about what was to come 100 years later.

  • Nijinsky says:

    Both sides would do themselves (and the rest of the world) a big favor and wipe the dust off of their feet along with their resentments, and knock it off with stuff that will not bring happiness or peace to either side, and never has and never will.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The problem is that grave mistakes have been made long ago, and the present generations don’t carry responsibility for that and are locked-up in history as a result. Breaking the obstacle of history is impossible when people cling to the past.

  • John Borstlap says:

    ‘Even if the Jews would win this war,’ Hannah Arendt wrote in 1948 in ‘To save the Jewish Homeland’, ‘then the country will become something very different from which we dreamed. The Jewish nation will be surrounded from all sides by a hostile Arab population and the need for self-defence will become such an obsession that there won’t be space for other things.’

    ‘Israel will never be able to offer a homeland for Jews or Palestinians’, Arendt wrote. She predicted that Israeli politics would be dominated by military strategies:

    ‘It will always remain a small country and degenerate to one of those small warrior tribes, of which we had not heard since the days of Sparta.’

    Also – from a serious Jewish source:

    • Dayenu. I have not one iota of sympathy or kinsmanship with the woman who gave us the Banality of Evil

      • John Borstlap says:

        In that book she did not want to reduce evil to banality, but in contrary to explain why seemingly normal people gradually are drawn into the worst excesses of criminal insanity. The banality was in the eyes of the participants, thus revealing the potential of evil to pop-up everywhere.

        • On the contrary, Eichmann was an evil monster with no sense of morals. Nazi=Evil. Read Hitler’s Willing Executioner’s by Goldhagen.

          • John Borstlap says:

            I think that given the ‘right’ circumstances, many more people who otherwise would be ‘normal’ and mediocre and not dangerous at all, would be vulnerable to be drawn into something deeply evil. Also plain stupidity plays a role, as we see nowadays when rightwing extremists are convinced they represent something of value.

          • This is a double edge sword kind of statement. Leftwing extremists are certainly plentiful and guilty of promoting what they feel has value, i.e. BDS, etc, In the end, our actions under any circumstance defines who we are and the legacy we leave behind and an innate morally corrupt person as well as a decent person always has a choice. Again, our actions define who we are.


      Let us dispense with the fiction, once and for all, that hating the Jewish homeland, which contains the largest Jewish community on Earth, is different from hating Jews.