Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said's unbelievable idea of uniting young musicians from Israel, Palestine and various Arab countries into a musical ensemble.
The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra has been flourishing since its foundation in 1999. The project, says Barenboim, brings together these young people "not so that they forget or hide their differences, but so that they can understand them." He adds that "making music together gives us the best opportunity to learn to live with one another." The concerts presented here were recorded at the 2007 Salzburg Festival, during the orchestras residency.
Among the highlights of the concerts are Mozart's Sinfonia concertante K. 297b, which gives four young soloists a chance to dazzle, and Igor Stravinsky's L'histoire du soldat an airy piece with a demanding percussion part. Songs and chamber music, including Schubert's Trout Quintet, showcase the individual talents of the young players. The Major orchestral concert comprises a Beethoven overture, an intricate and multi-layered piece by Schoenberg, and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 "Pathetique" in which Barenboim pulls out all the stops and coaxes rarely heard instrumental lines and accents from the depth of his ensemble.
On three afternoons, Daniel Barenboim led a musical workshop called "School for the Ear." In the first part, Barenboim explores the phenomenon of sound and the importance of the human ear. The second part features the fiery 24-year-old conductor Robin Ticciati in a rehearsal of Beethoven's third Leonore Overture punctuated by the Maestro's insightful comments and heated discussions with the young conductor. In the third part the great composer and conductor Pierre Boulez rehearses Bela Bartók's rarely played Four Orchestral Pieces answering questions from the audience and the musicians. Throughout, Barenboim's enthusiasm, humor and directness make this three-part series an exceptionally informative and entertaining event.
Portrait of the great Austrian conductor
A film by Christopher Nupen
With Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez