Daniel Barenboim is one of the most re-known pianist and conductor in the world. He is an Ashkenazi Jew born in Argentina. His passion for piano started at a tender age of five with his mother teaching him some piano lessons. He gave his first official concert at age seven and from then he never looked back. His postings on YouTube are very fascinating to watch. Some of the postings include the famous Beethoven Sonata and later some pieces by Wagner.
The clips are just amazing and incomparable in terms of quality and passion the Barenboim demonstrates. The G-major sonata truly rocks and has attracted a lot of admiration and respect for Barenboim. This paper will discuss Barenboim’s musical journey, life philosophies and political views. A strong personality is what is needed for one to play the piano and conduct at the same time. Being a high profile international artist, having a warm personality is a basic ingredient. Barenboim expressed this when performing Beethoven’s masterpieces. Daniel has always had a modest performance without any pretence.
His musical personality has made his performances to be so compelling to the audience (Lewin 32). Barenboim is always regarded to as a spontaneous and impulsive performer. Some people see Daniel as being very impatient in the way he plays the piano at the podium.
This is debatable because Barenboim’s performances have always been unpredictable. Some people attribute this to his spontaneous personality. Generally, Barenboim is an accomplished performer with a musical personality that is warm and compelling. These qualities have made many people allover the world to like his performances. Barenboim’s musical philosophy is a very pragmatic one. According to Daniel Barenboim, music is an art that has neither a beginning nor an end. He argues that sensuality and feeling can only find some form in music. According to Barenboim, true music is a combination of form and freedom and not emotionalism which he considers as lifeless.
Barenboim has the ability to make music to appear as it was born at the time of performance. Barenboim’s music always takes a rigorous form combined with deep strategy and endless knowledge (Lewin 56). Daniel believes that sound perfection should be done in the living moment because music sounds unique every time it is performed. Daniel argues that the only way music can thrive is by performing it repetitively. According to Daniel, people can learn a lot of things about life from music than the opposite. Barenboim believes that music and politics can not be separated. He has been at the forefront in criticizing the Israeli foreign policy especially against Palestine.
Fearing for his life, Daniel Barenboim gave up his intention of performing Wagner in his native Israel. This did not stop him completely from continuing with his mission. He has gone ahead to collaborate with Palestinian musicians by developing the Barenboim –Said Initiative. According to Daniel, the Israeli-Palestine conflict can only be resolved if the two sides take the initiative of trying to understand each other’s suffering.
Despite being a Jew, Daniel accepted honorary Palestinian citizenship in 2008 after one of his concerts in Ramallah (Barenboim 45). He made history by being the first Israeli to accept Palestinian citizenship. Daniel regarded this as a public gesture of promoting peace between the two nations.
This action sparked a lot of criticism in Israel with some leaders calling for the stripping of Daniel’s Israeli citizenship (Barenboim 68). From his performances, Daniel Barenboim portrays his authoritative nature. His high minded persona makes him to freely air his political views with any fear. Barenboim is very commanding and his level of confidence is just unbelievable. These qualities have made him to be very influential on stage and out of stage. His authoritative conducting is just a beauty to watch. Daniel commands a lot of respect and trust wherever he goes and is always one of a kind. By being authoritative, Daniel has made a lot of friends and enemies alike.
Barenboim has received a lot of praise and recognition because of the unique way he looks at issues (Lewin 116). Daniel Barenboim views music from a very different angle. He reiterates that subjectivity is very necessary in music. According to Daniel, music making should be both objectives. Daniel believes that the nature of music and the kind of associations generated by it need to be differentiated. Barenboim believes that transparency, power and strength as used in music would make the world look wonderful just like music does. According to Daniel, music is so powerful because it communicates to the entire body system.
Daniel argues that all issues whether personal, social or political are completely depended on each other just like the different voices and elements in music. He further clarifies that all the elements in music are dependent on each other and so is the case with life. Daniel encourages us to understand this vital lesson from music that everything in this life is dependent on each other (Barenboim 20).
Daniel has greatly emphasized the concept of learning through music. This concept is widely used by early childhood educators to who use music to transfer knowledge to children. According to Daniel, music is helps us to have a better understanding of the whole society in terms of political and social aspects.
There needs to be integration in our education systems for a complete revolution to be witnessed in the education sector. Daniel is of the view that human activities are all associated with music in one way or the other (Lewin 123). According to Daniel, there should be a change from the traditional way of knowledge delivery right away from the Kindergartens to universities.
Daniel has continued to popularize the concept of education through music especially for children in early childhood centers. Kindergartens have started to use music in teaching because of the aggressive campaigns done by Barenboim. Daniel calls for the integration of musical abilities and skills in all kinds of training. Daniel Barenboim and other musicians have continued to support these initiatives by offering to give free music lessons in the institutions that have implemented the concept of learning through music. The concept of education through music has become very popular around the world with many kindergartens imparting knowledge to their early childhood pupils through music (Lewin 142).
Daniel emphasizes the need for everyone to have a point of view about life and music. Daniel sees music as a powerful medium of bringing people together and making peace .This is clearly demonstrated by the number of numerous shows and performance he has had in Palestine whose main objective was to preach peace and understanding. Daniel sees music as a powerful universal language that is able to unite all the people in the world (Barenboim 36).
He is considered utopian when he refers to music as a great authority. Daniel sees himself as a musical prophet when he says that music is the most powerful tool that goes beyond the political and racial boundaries. Daniel’s utopian views are portrayed when he holds massive performances in Palestine in coordination with Said in attempt to bring peace in the Middle East. Daniel Barenboim has earned a lot of titles and praises from various important personalities. His pragmatic political view together with a flamboyant musical career has made him to receive a lot of admiration and recognition (Barenboim 64). This recognition has come with a lot of titles for the musician. Daniel has enjoyed a lot of social capital over the years which have made him to be so authoritative.
Daniel’s performances have been regarded as among the finest in the world. His performances have been signaled out as an actual representation of the composer’s original thoughts. Many people refer to his performances as expressive and thoughtful at the same time. There are various social institutions around the world that totally support Daniel’s artistic persona. The Barenboim-Said foundation plays a key role in promoting peace in the Middle East through music (Barenboim 76). The foundation plans and coordinates music education projects that are aimed at promoting peace and tolerance in the Middle East.
The Palestinian Medical Relief Society has taken music education to children in refugee camps. The education through music initiative is aimed at enabling emotional, social and cognitive balance by developing the children’s personality and creativity in their desperate social environment (Barenboim 151). Civil society institutions in Europe pledged their support for Barenboim’s global initiatives through music.
Ignor Markevich is a Ukrainian conductor and composer who speak highly of Barenboim. Having been his conducting teacher, Markevich probably knows Barenboim better (Barenboim 188). According to Markevich, Daniel Barenboim is not only a mere pianist but also a born conductor. Markevich acknowledges Daniel’s noble efforts in promoting peace and togetherness in the Middle East through his music.
According to Markevich, Daniel is a great leader whose leadership is always demonstrated in his performances. Markevich believes that a great conductor should offer something extra apart from just playing instruments. This extra thing is what Daniel offers and that is why Markevich sees him as somebody very special.
According to classical ideology thinkers, conductors have a great role to play apart from just playing instruments. Markevich sees three fundamental qualities in Daniel. He regards Daniel as an exceptional musician, conductor and leader all in one. Barenboim is an ideology thinker whose philosophies and views are pragmatic and unique (Lewin 72). Daniel relates music with life in a special way.
His musical philosophies have convinced many people that without music there is no life. Daniel’s performances are so compelling and authoritative at the same time. This makes his performances to be very unpredictable sometimes.
Daniel’s courage and approach to music has made him to be labeled as a musician with a high-minded artistic persona. This high-mindedness is what has given him the social capital to have his own independent political views. Daniel’s political views have made him to lose favor with Israel which is his native country (Lewin 118). Barenboim‘s stage performances are always compelling and electrifying. Barenboim recorded the Beethoven Sonata during the early stages of his musical career. He is regarded as one of the world’s best interpreters of the Beethoven sonata. The Beethoven sonata consists of six master classes each running for fifty-five minutes. In the Beethoven DVD, Daniel is seen coaching young pianists on a number of Beethoven movements.
At an early age of seven, Daniel had already performed an official concert (Lewin 120). This would mark the beginning of his illustrious career on stage. He first recorded the Beethoven sonata when he was1 just eighteen. The historical background of Daniel’s recordings and performances is quite amazing. Daniel made recording of gramophones in 1954. He later recorded piano sonatas of Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms and Bartok respectively. He then started serious stage performances when he joined the English Chamber Orchestra.
During his time with the English Chamber Orchestra, he performed in many international concerts as a pianist and conductor. His 1967 performance in London with the Philharmonic Orchestra increased his demand by many orchestras in Europe (Lewin 154). Daniel made marked his first operatic debut by performing at the Edinburgh International Festival in 1973. During the concert, he performed the Mozart sonata. Daniel Barenboim has also done chamber music in collaboration with his late wife.
In 1996, Daniel recorded Argentinian tangos by collaborating with Hector Console and Rudolf Maderos. Barenboim met Said in early 1990s and formed a strong friendship based on both music and the Israeli and Palestine political conflict. Having a common mind of promoting peace, the two started to collaborate in musical concerts to demonstrate their common interest of finding peace in the Middle East (Barenboim 87). They held a series of concerts in the West Bank and Ramallah with an objective of preaching peace through their music.
In 2006, Daniel Barenboim recorded the Beethoven sonata for a second time. The recording consists of six DVD sets. In this second recording, Daniel works with six young pianists at various stages of development. The Beethoven Sonata has been so dear to Daniel and that is why he decided to do a rendition of the sonata (Lewin 134). The young pianists include Aboud Asshkar form Palestine, Jonathan Bliss from America, Shai Wosner from Israel, David Kadouch from France, Allesio Bax from Italy and finally Lang Lang from China.
Daniel trains the young pianists in sonata movements and at the same time demonstrating to them the relationship that exist in piano playing elements (Lewin 126) Daniel was greatly inspired by the overwhelming interest of young pianists who were ready to perfect their skills. Daniel had chosen the Beethoven sonata as his first album because it was very well received from the first time he recorded it. The Beethoven sonata had been so dear to him in his entire musical career and by no doubt his best sonata. This was a perfect way of finishing his musical career in style. After the first recording of the Beethoven sonata, Daniel Barenboim recorded over fifteen other recordings before doing the Beethoven rendition in the twilight days of his successful musical career (Lewin 140).
The Beethoven sonata popularly known as the appassionato sonata was played at F minor which is also Daniel’s favorite key. Realizing that he was almost retiring from the entertainment scene, Daniel thought that it was not enough to just be a mentor to upcoming talent without offering them any meaningful help. Lang Lang is one of Barenboim’s best students and beneficiaries of his lessons so far. Because of the good musical foundation given to him by his musical mentor and teacher, Lang Lang has become a household name.
His first major solo performance was during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (Lewin 135). With almost 40 million people viewing him, this was a perfect opportunity for Lang Lang to showcase himself at the international stage. Barenboim introduced Lang Lang to real performing in his second recording of the Beethoven sonata. Daniel offers him and the other five young pianists some valuable master pieces in piano playing and conducting. During the lessons, Daniel taught the young pianists about the key musical elements of rhythm, tempo and harmony. The electrifying performance he gave in Beijing was an outcome of some splendid tutoring by Daniel Barenboim. This budding young musician demonstrated his love for piano at tender age of two. Lang Lang used to use pillows to in order to reach the keys at that tender age.
His musical journey is almost similar to that of his mentor and tutor Daniel (Barenboim 43). Despite coming from a humble background, Lang Lang’s sheer determination and passion has made him who he is today. His supportive and dedicated family had to sacrifice a lot for him to achieve the success he has today. Lang Lang has participated in many musical competitions before he finally got his break.
Daniel Barenboim has been very instrumental in nurturing the talent of this talented young man. The success of a student always speaks volumes about the teacher. In Daniel Barenboim, Lang Lang found the best teacher in piano playing and conducting .His experience on stage combined with his musical philosophies are just inspiring (Lewin 162). In conclusion, it is no doubt that Daniel Barenboim has left an indelible mark in the world of music. The caliber of his performances and recordings are just world-class and that makes him one of the biggest performing artists in the world. His personal philosophies about life have influenced his music and political views a great deal.
Daniel Barenboim commands a lot of respect and recognition around the world which has earned him a lot of titles such as humanitarian, finest pianist, authoritative conductor, great leader and utopian.
Barenboim, Daniel. Music Quickens Time.
New York: Verso, 2008.Print. Lewin, Michael. A Life in Music, Daniel Barenboim. New York: Nicolson Limited, 1991.