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Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society
Synopses & Reviews
This fascinating exchange between two of the most prominent figures in contemporary culture, Daniel Barenboim, Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, and Edward W. Said, the eminent literary critic and scholar and a leading expert on the Middle East, grew out of the acclaimed Carnegie Hall Talks. A unique and impassioned discussion about politics and culture, it touches on many diverse subjects: the importance of a sense of place; the differences between writing prose and music; the conductors Wilhelm Fürtwangler and Arturo Toscanini; Beethoven as the greatest sonata composer; the difficulty of playing Wagner; the sound at Bayreuth; the writers Balzac, Dickens, and Adorno; the importance of great teachers; and the power of culture to transcend all national and political differences — something they both witnessed when they brought together young Arab and Israeli musicians to play at Weimar in 1999.
Although Barenboim and Said have very different points of view, they act as catalysts for each other. The originality of their ideas makes this a book that is both accessible and compelling for anyone who is interested in the culture of the twenty-first century.
"Said remarks that in today's world, it has 'become quite rare to project one's self outward, to have a broader perspective.' These enlightening conversations show that Said and Barenboim are able to do just that." Publishers Weekly
"Music is real only when it is carried by the flesh and blood of performance. Ideas stay pale when they lie flat on the printed page. Wherever we open this book, Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said seem to rise up before us, thoughtful and passionate, bringing a music to their theories and a living presence to their questions." Peter Brook
"[A] thought-provoking book that ranges from the intricacies of performance...to the need for an 'artistic solution' to the Middle East crisis." Library Journal
About the Author
Daniel Barenboim was born in Buenos Aires and grew up in Israel. He been Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1991 and of the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin since 1992. Barenboim began conducting with the New Philharmonic Orchestra in London in 1967 and was musical director of the Orchestre de Paris.
Edward W. Said is University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Orientalism, Culture and Imperialism, and, most recently, Power, Politics, and Culture. His books have been published in thirty-six languages.
Ara Guzelimian, Senior Director and Artistic Advisor of Carnegie Hall since September 1998, was Artistic Administrator of the Aspen Music Festival and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is the host of the celebrated Carnegie Hall Talks, a series of conversations with great musicians.
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