Saturday, July 28, 2012

Barenboim Carries the Flag at the Olympics

One of the highlights of the opening ceremony last night came as a surprise (to me):  One of the eight flag bearers at end was Daniel Barenboim, the great classical pianist for decades but here honored for his incredible work (with Edward Said) in founding the West-East Divan Orchestra--made up of Israelis and Arabs, and mainly young people, against great odds.  They have played everywhere from Ramallah to (this winter) Carnegie Hall, and I will be there.  Here's a current video that I'm posting again:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Musical Event of the Year

It could be Daniel Barenboim leading his longstanding (with Edward Said) Arab/Israeli orchestra in doing complete Beethoven symphony cycle in London (the Proms),  New York (Carnegie Hall) and elsewhere.  New CDs document.  Here is new interview today and see video below. RIP Edward Said.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Morning in the Church of Beethoven

In our weekly feature, a rather offbeat pick: David Beckham, the soccer great, bends it to play the "Ode to Joy," in a ball-on-drum exercise.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

For July 4th: Beethoven's No. 4

Yes, it will always be the "greatest Fourth."  Here via Helene Grimaud in a newly uploaded full version of her Proms concert.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Essential Beethoven for Two Bucks

As  many know, the Schnabel recording of all of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas was a landmark and influenced most pianists ever since.  Thanks to a tip from Tim Page let me point to Amazon putting nearly the full set (missing, for some reason, #31) on sale for just $1.99.  What are you waiting for?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Meeting of the Giants

Two hundreds years ago this month two of the all-time greats, Goethe and Beethoven finally met.  As we know, Beethoven admired the writer without reservations while Goethe expressed some doubts about Ludwig (too much of a wild man, maybe).  Great piece here on the visit, including the famous "Taplitz Incident"--when Beethoven refused to make way for dukes and other rich folk while Goethe bowed to them.