<< -- 2 -- Robert Anderson MUCH RESONANCE
The title of the orchestra comes from Goethe's 1819 collection of lyric poems inspired by a
German translation of the Persian Hafiz. Goethe was the sage of Weimar, European capital of
culture 180 years on. So there was much resonance in the foundation of such an orchestra in a city
with musical traditions that embraced such giants as Bach, Liszt and Wagner, and was yet within a
few miles of Buchenwald, reminder of Germany's shame and part-motivation for the existence of
[watch and listen -- DVD1 chapter 2, 5:24-6:23].
Barenboim could effortlessly gather round him world-class musicians, and it was with mixed
emotions that I listened to him and Yo-Yo Ma beginning the Brahms sonata I last played with
Barenboim's ex-wife, Jacqueline du Pré
[watch and listen -- DVD1 chapter 3, 15:50-16:40].
Edward Said (left) and Daniel Barenboim. DVD screenshot © 2005 EuroArts Music International GmbH
Joint-founder of the orchestra was the late Edward Said, eloquent advocate for the
aspirations of both occupied and unoccupied Palestine, and indomitable fighter for a freedom
he passionately espoused. No one was more aware that a people will usually prefer bad
government to a foreign one. Yet Al-Andalus, Moslem stronghold in mediaeval Spain, produced
in a tolerant Cordoba the intellectual capital of Europe where all religions were welcome
(the Inquisition was a distasteful Christian reaction to it). So Seville has become the
home town of the Barenboim-Said orchestra, and Spain provided all the documentation
necessary for young Israelis and Arabs from many lands to meet for concert-giving in
[watch and listen -- DVD1 chapter 6, 44:20-45:53].
Copyright © 27 September 2006
Robert Anderson, London UK