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Breaking: Barenboim to open 2012 Olympics with Beethoven 9th

Roger Wright, head of the BBC Proms, announced tonight that, as part of next summer’s cultural Olympics, Daniel Barenboim will conduct a complete Beethoven cycle at the 2012 Proms – culminating in a Ninth Symphony on the  night the Games begin.

The orchestra, symbolically for the goodwill element of the Games, will be the West-East Diwan.

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Comments

  1. nice…

    • Its a shame the BBC Proms is taken in by Barenboim. I know prominent musicians in the Chicago, Berlin, and Seville orchestras who say his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra is nothing more than a slush fund/front to pad his own wallet and ego. Forget about the peace bit.

      • Nabih Bulos says:

        As a longtime member of the Divan, I’m not sure of the slush fund aspect you’re talking about. Whatever you want to say about Barenboim and his musicality and personality, I think there is little argument about his financial security.
        For the ego bit, I personally have learned so much from Barenboim over the ten years of my membership in the Divan (and also received scholarships to continue my studies in several countries and given opportunities that would have been impossible were it not for the Divan) that I would gladly let him have his ego boost from the Divan. The man has done more classical musicians from the Arab world than many Arab organizations and other groups purporting to “play for peace”.
        I suppose I’m also one of those who are “taken in”…

  2. Iain Sinclair says:

    Norman, it’s the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, not the East-West Diwan. It’s remarkable how often this orchestra is mis-named in the media.

  3. Not again the 9th. –!!!! have mercy !! the feel good music for all occasions. It was recently done to accompaniment of fire works and stage antics of Dudamel , perhaps we could teach the athletic crowd
    to do the “wave ” during some sections . Wouldn’t a choral arrangement of ” Money makes the world
    go round ” be more appropriate – please spare us the” noble” aims of the athletes involved. Perhaps
    during choral section we could intersperse “Nessun Dorma ” that always gets the crowd ., makes em
    all feel cultured and not only just about sports . Poor Schiller never mind Ludwig used for super market and
    bathroom happenings and Olympic stadiums . Seems Mr. Barenboim is not to far away from show bizz .

    • Well I’m glad the West-Eastern-Divan Orchestra is playing, which Norman Lebrecht above called the West-East Diwan orchestra; only to be corrected that it’s not the East-West Diwan orchestra but the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. So, It’s apparently not the East-Western Divan orchestra either. I’m glad the West-Eastern-Divan Orchestra is playing and I hope such collaborations spread themselves out into other directions and are remembered.

    • Seriously. Whatever they play, I’m sure it will be tremendous. I listened to them on youtube yesterday and, when they play a phrase, they put something inspiring in it because of their positive youthful energy: inspiration to a new world without conflict. Whether they play Beethoven’s 9th, Pachelbel’s canon, Eine Kleine Nacht Muziek or Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain; I’m sure it will be great and make a real statement about brotherhood (which is the text to Schiller’s Ode come to think…)

      • Didn’t take long for the brotherhood bit to surface – - poor Schiller must turn over in his grave every time
        someone invokes that phrase .. no one at these events thinks of brotherhood – they think money in
        ticket sales – the athletes think in terms of endorsements ($$$) and all countries count medals as
        an example of their world standing with all the flag waving they can muster . Brotherhood indeed !!!
        Such baloney . The hypocrisy is never ending .

        • An orchestra made up of youth from Palestine and Israel which play together making beautiful music which is what the West-Eastern-Divan orchestra is, this represents brotherhood rather than war. And it makes a statement about brotherhood and what’s possible. And the Ode to Joy is completely appropriate.

          • Wasn’t this 9th . written by a man hell bent on persecuting an innocent woman and driving her son
            to near suicide just to get away from this composer who was so filled with the brotherhood of
            man ? Many great orchestras are a combination of many nationalities amongst its players and
            their aim is to play well and make good money-they are not there for the brotherhood of mankind.
            But if the Ode makes you feel good that’s all that matters .

        • I’ve held back saying anything about the Olympics because I think that despite everything, to see many nationalities compete in order to inspire the top levels of human achievement says something beyond borders about the human struggles. And I think that everyone watching it feels this somehow, and this means more than whether so and so gets an endorsement, who wins gold and how many medals any particular country gets. This is beyond anything worldly one can measure, and all of the corruption and all of the money making, and all of the people with warped motives doesn’t really ruin it. But if you are going to criticize the Olympics, I would point out the amount of big business exploitation. How in Beijing that no one could buy water unless it was bottled by so and so (causing an unbelievable amount of plastic waste), and other such things I don’t remember or don’t want to mention; and the politics behind being an Olympic sponsor; it wouldn’t be the same statement if it was always in the place but , which happens at each place the Olympics is at, many people are removed from their homes to make room for the stadiums. And the cities that host the Olympics always lose money to do it. It’s a status symbol which doesn’t help the economy (although this is well hidden). It’s the big businesses which make a lot of money out of it.

        • ’ve held back saying anything about the Olympics because I think that despite everything, to see many nationalities compete in order to inspire the top levels of human achievement says something beyond borders about the human struggles. And I think that everyone watching it feels this somehow, and this means more than whether so and so gets an endorsement, who wins gold and how many medals any particular country gets. This is beyond anything worldly one can measure, and all of the corruption and all of the money making, and all of the people with warped motives doesn’t really ruin it. They can’t. The one is real and the other isn’t. But if you are going to criticize the Olympics, I would point out the amount of big business exploitation. How in Beijing that no one could buy water unless it was bottled by so and so (causing an unbelievable amount of plastic waste), and other such things I don’t remember or don’t want to mention; and the politics behind being an Olympic sponsor. It wouldn’t be the same statement if it was always in the same place but , which happens at each place the Olympics is at, many people are removed from their homes to make room for the stadiums. And the cities that host the Olympics always lose money to do it. It’s a status symbol which doesn’t help the economy (although this is well hidden). It’s the big businesses which make a lot of money out of it. That said, I have no desire or need to be getting in some petty bias trying to make The Olympics, Barenboim, all the athletes in the Olympics who none of which are supposedly in it for the brother hood, Beethoven, all Big Business or anything else out to be why I’m better than others because I find fault with them. I think it’s great that an Orchestra comprised of people who are supposed to be at war with each other makes music instead, to show there’s a different way. And all the ridiculing and sanctimonious pointing of fingers at others is never going to accomplish what such music does.

  4. Lovely news. I like the orchestra and what it stands for. Would be even better, of course, if a grand symphonic piece were played at the opening ceremony. I keep scanning the media for news that classical music will be a part of the pageant, but so far, so bupkis.

  5. Paul Ricchi says:

    As I recall, this was done before. During the broadcast of a snippet of the final section, the US network announcers – in love with the sound of their voices – narrated. Apparently they thought that the music did not speak for itself.

    Yes, it’s becoming a cliche, but at least it is not “I tre imbecile” or the like.

  6. Yes , the music may very well speak for itself and it is now sunk to cliche – I am willing to bet that 9 out of 10 have not
    the slightest idea to what this over the top romantic poem is about – but the programme notes will point out that it is
    about the brotherhood of man – and hey! that can’t be all bad — not to publicly subscribe to the baloney would be as bad
    as being seen kicking a little old lady -.and the crowd puts on the hypocritical brotherhood smiles and Barenboim once more drags out the 9th with his brotherhood orchestra .One wonders if the stadium has an expanded free section for the great unwashed to partake in the
    festivities of brotherhood or is the brotherhood restricted to ticket holders only .

  7. Hmmmmm…. just how “official” is that link between the 2012 Olympics and the Proms, er sorry, BBC Proms?

    It’s obviously not coincidence that LvB9 will be on the opening night – and that another blockbuster can be expected on the closing night – but some of the correspondents above seem to think that there is some kind of commercial link, and even that the performance will be taking place at the new West Ham football ground.

    Not that the headline does its best to clarify that ;-) .

  8. Elisabetta Brunazzi says:

    How powerful is Barenboim’s mafia worldwide?! The more “peace-moaning” he is for the Middle East, the more his ego bursts in the Western theatres, where he treats artists, musicians, administrators as his pure servants. The more he writes about peace, the more he gets irritated by people who work for and with him.
    What does he conduct? Always the same stuff – in Italy -Wagner, in Germany – Russian pieces and then we have always Beethoven, Chopin, Bartok, etc, etc, etc.
    His next ambition? The Nobel prize for peace. Wanna bet?
    What a disappointment when in the genuis the audience gets to detect the misery of the “piccolo uomo”…

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