These free-wheeling, often exhilarating dialogues—which grew out of the acclaimed Carnegie Hall Talks—are an exchange between two of the most prominent figures in contemporary culture: Daniel Barenboim, internationally renowned conductor and pianist, and Edward W. Said, eminent literary critic and impassioned commentator on the Middle East. Barenboim is an Argentinian-Israeli and Said a Palestinian-American; they are also close friends.
As they range across music, literature, and society, they open up many fields of inquiry: the importance of a sense of place; music as a defiance of silence; the legacies of artists from Mozart and Beethoven to Dickens and Adorno; Wagner’s anti-Semitism; and the need for “artistic solutions” to the predicament of the Middle East—something they both witnessed when they brought young Arab and Israeli musicians together. Erudite, intimate, thoughtful and spontaneous, Parallels and Paradoxes is a virtuosic collaboration.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Parallels and Paradoxes|
|Release Date: 12-10-2008|
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Parallels and Paradoxes
Ara Guzelimian: I want to begin by asking each of you: Where are you at home? Or do you ever feel at home? Do you feel yourself in perpetual motion?
Daniel Barenboim: The used and abused clich? "I am at home wherever I make music" is true. I say "used and abused" because many of my colleagues and I have used this cliche on occasions when we didn1t know exactly how to answer this very question or didn1t want to be rude in places that were very hospitable to us yet didn't make us feel at home. Wherever I can play the piano-preferably with a reasonably good instrument-or wherever I travel with the orchestras that I lead, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or the Staatskapelle from Berlin, I feel at home.
I feel at home in a certain way in Jerusalem, but I think this is a little bit unreal, a poetic idea with which I grew up. We moved to Israel when I was ten years old and lived in Tel Aviv, which is a city without any history to speak of, a very modern city, not particularly interesting, but bustling and bubbling with life. Whereas Jerusalem, of course, means everything to so many different people, and this is why its politics have always been so problematic. And in the 1950s, Tel Avivians looked to Jerusalem for everything that they couldn't find in their own city: spirituality, intellectual and cultural curiosity. All those things now unfortunately seem to be disappearing due to the lack of tolerance shown by some of the extreme populations in Jerusalem.
So what I mean to say is that I feel at home in the idea of Jerusalem. Otherwise, I feel at home in the company of a very few close friends. And, I must say, Edward to me has beco...