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on 23 January 2014
I have just ordered a copy of the moving book 'Orchestra without borders' here on Amazon, so it seemed fitting to download this concert by the wonderful West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, too. It is a well-thought-out programme of accessible music with which to showcase the talents of these young musicians from Israel, Palestine, and the wider Arab world under the charismatic baton of Daniel Barenboim. I had the privilege of hearing them at the Proms in 2012, to coincide with the London Olympics, and that was electrifying, as is this live recording. Deeply moving as well, and a wonderful tribute to the vision for peace which Barenboim and his friend Edward Said shared, and for which Barenboim has so often been misunderstood by his own government. Above all, though, it is a tribute to the power of music!
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on 20 September 2014
I've had enough. Surely one has a right not to be assailed by a Barenboim recording whenever one ventures near Amazon? It brings to mind a certain computer-game starting with `W' . . . . . Name the domain - he's there, armed and dangerous with his Furtwangler-fetish or professional sight-reads. In the very least, the services of Myxo Man are required. Mark my words: before Barenboim clocks off, there will be a cycle of Mozart Symphonies (which he has not recorded since the late Sixties - and how ordinary they were); he'll try his hand at Sibelius, the London Symphonies and have a tilt at Berlin once Rattle vacates his curial chair. And who can doubt that he'll circumnavigate Beethoven's sonatas for a fourth time? What with the recent publication of Schubert: Piano Sonatas, more Chopin could be in train. Hey, I'm excited!

I am mystified by the acclaim accorded to this disc by my fellow reviewers - are they not aware of discography? Even if one makes allowances for its wider circumstances (which are praiseworthy), it's a shallow and prosaic account of K 297b (featuring faster tempi than his run-of-the-mill account on EMI [9'23" is now 8'15" in the godsend of an Adagio]) and a Beethoven Fifth that is not touched by distinction (listen to the opening of the Andante con moto - geez, that is ordinary stuff). If you get your cheapies out of student-orchestras, clover awaits you. To paraphrase Blake, this is a production of time which fails to woo eternity.

The best thing here is the speech which is eloquence itself (bravo Danny!) - and the magic that so eluded the two main works on the program is semi-evident in the encore: the Nimrod Variation.

Make a donation at the office instead!
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on 25 August 2015
Emotional and stirring.
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on 19 December 2015
Thank you.
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