Barenboim is 70 years old



Barenboim fears the phrase «you should have heard him ten years ago» «the truth is that I don’t feel like a young man of 28 years», recognizes Daniel Barenboim in his 70th anniversary with false modesty. «Rather I feel as if I had… 29 «, he jokes. From the perspective of his age, and this time with modesty sincere, not considered having achieved many accomplishments in his role as Apostle of reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, in view of the situation and after 13 years of existence of the East-West Divan Orchestra, but yes, he makes a very satisfactory balance of a life devoted to the music. It is curious that Barenboim fixed his life in Berlin where he leads the Orchestra of the Staatsoper since 1992.

Today recalls with a smile when, at the age of ten, his father forced him to decline an invitation to play with the Berlin Philharmonic because only nine years after the end of World War II, the Jewish political correctness prevented one of their own to tread on Germany again. It was not until 1964, when already had passed ten years of Furtwängler’s death, when he could play his first concert of piano in Berlin. By then, he had already begun to give shape to his second musical career, Conductor.

Despite their well-earned status of divo, has no qualms about revealing his secret to staying in shape: «music, do what I want to do, is what keeps my enthusiasm», said recently in Berlin, although he admitted he tries to take care of himself. «I want to feel healthy and try to keep clearly in mind. I would like to avoid to reach that moment when someone comes out of one of my concerts and say: it has been very well, but you should have heard him ten years ago… «. Barenboim critic is openly shown with vision imposed by the crisis and considered «contradictory» that try to save Europe at the same time that are choking economically the practice of classical music, removing institutional support and subsidies.

«The music is no longer be considered part of the culture of the peoples of Europe», he laments, noting the serious error and the unrecoverable loss.

Skilfully interrogated, acknowledges that he has only bought a disc of pop music throughout his life, one of the Beatles, and alleges in his defence: «but only because he meet them in London, at a friend’s house, and felt curiosity».

But the current music sounds at home, «and at what volume!» His son David, a rapper who has earned on its own merits a position in the demanding Berlin scene, grew up listening to Wagner. «And I’m still doing it, but my concentration usually does not exceed two hours», smiles. «I just do not understand why that music moves people, truly», says the father. «But when I hear what David does and compare it others in that genus, in his music there is much more experience and originality», warns without disguise his pride. «Pop music has an energy that sometimes lack in the classic because, by inhibition or by respect, it sounds sometimes a little soda,» says the Maestro.







On his seventieth birthday, Barenboimn has given himself a concert, a book and an Academy. The latter intended for Middle East musicians and inspired by his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, will be opened in 2015, will primarily host to young Arab and Israeli performers and will allow the director to continue the work of reconciliation through music in a more stably way in the space occupied old warehouses of the Berlin Staasoper until now.

The project will cost 28.5 million euros and will be funded with 20 million euros by the German Government and another eight million from private donors. It will feature a concert hall with capacity of 800 spectators and will be built by the prestigious architect Frank Gehry – author among other works of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Artistic design will be in charge of the Nippon Yasuhisa Toyota. That same complex architectural will host musical nursery of the Styaatsoper Unter den Linden, another project that the director devotes great energy and affection. His great concern for the loss of musical training in Europe is behind the decision to celebrate his birthday with a benefit concert, which plays the piano directed by his friend Zubin Mehta, whose income will be allocated to music nurseries, specializing in early stimulation of the musical talents and working with the musical language as much as with the spoken language which makes their 70th anniversary in a call to the European society on the importance and need to recover their musical culture and tradition.


But the project that Barenboim leaves us as a legacy his thoughts about the music is in the book in which he thinks about the power of composition and interpretation, «Music is a whole. Ethics and aesthetics», which has just been published in Italy by Feltrinelli and thayt seeks editor in other European countries. His thesis is that music, ethics and aesthetics dialogue continuously at various levels. «The relationship between ethics and aesthetics or, to give a more concrete example, understanding of life and the understanding of music, has terrible consequences for a society that is suffering more each day by the alienating effects of specialization,» he writes. And wondered: «How does it explained that monsters of the caliber of Hitler and Stalin broke to tears listening to music? “Clearly they associated human emotion with some aspect of the music, ignoring at the same time establishing a link between the aesthetic and ethical sphere», concludes.


With a lifetime dedicated to the music on his back, Barenboim is convinced that «there is no limit to what music can teach, if we’re willing to meet it in deep and not segregate out of our intellectual sphere. The music was confined for long years to a remote Kingdom of pleasure and avoidance, on the assumption that doesn’t have anything to say to our brain areas willing to thought or everyday life. Something sad for all concerned», underlines, in what will, by no doubt, be part of the testament of Barenboim for the posterity.


Rosalía Sánchez
Berlin Correspondent