April 30, 2000 |
Recording the Beethoven symphonies has long been a rite of passage that signals the arrival of a conductor's full maturity. How strange then that the compulsively curious, ever-eager former child prodigy Daniel Barenboim has waited until age 57 - 37 years after his conducting debut - to make his statement with this cornerstone of the symphonic repertoire (Teldec, six CDs). Considering that Barenboim has recorded Beethoven's daunting Hammerklavier sonata as a pianist at least three times, this is clearly one of the few times in his life when he has held back.
June 3, 2003 |
Like a comet that returns every 15 years or so, Daniel Barenboim is playing all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas again. Although the former child-prodigy pianist has been doing so over roughly 50 of his 61 years, his career as an opera and symphony conductor have long eclipsed his keyboard activities. When he recently recorded the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1, the soloist wasn't him, but Philadelphia-based pianist Lang Lang. The latest Wagner opera recordings are ones he conducted.
December 7, 2008 |
Being Daniel Barenboim gets you only so far in this town. Barenboim's conducting debut at the Metropolitan Opera on Nov. 28 - also his first time with a fully staged opera in New York - has been the talk of the opera world, but that doesn't make him invulnerable. He was shanghaied en route to his Tuesday-night performance of Tristan und Isolde by the New-York-cabbie version of "the scenic route," leaving him no time to even meet with leading tenor Gary Lehman, pressed into service when the cast's scheduled star fell ill. Meanwhile, his personal secretary was standing at the glassed-in ticket office backstage at the Met - the one for Met employees, friends and artists - having to spell Barenboim's name three times to pick up seats reserved for friends and family - "He's the conductor!
February 10, 2006 |
Musical identity is a hugely elusive matter for symphony orchestras, one probably owing more to the power of suggestion than to anything tangible. And how could it be otherwise when an orchestra performs so much repertoire under many strong-minded conductors? Yet even while listening - skeptically - to the Berlin Staatskapelle Wednesday at the Kimmel Center, you couldn't miss a personality that has survived the rise and fall of world empires over many decades. Based - and long isolated - in what was East Berlin, the orchestra was discovered in plain sight by conductor Daniel Barenboim upon assuming the chief position of the Berlin State Opera in 1992.
December 25, 1993 |
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra would seem the almost ideal performer of the music of Richard Strauss. Brilliant and brash, the orchestra has played this kind of music with a swagger. At least, that was its pulse and style under Sir Georg Solti, who took the laureate title when Daniel Barenboim became music director two years ago. From 2 to 4 p.m. tomorrow on Channel 12, in concerts devoted to Strauss tone poems, the CSO shows that there are no absolutes in music, and that reputations are renewed with every performance.
July 6, 1986 |
Sviatoslav Richter is one of the towering musicians whose careers have not included the United States. His single tour here 20 years ago apparently convinced him that this was a barbaric land and that his piano could best be appreciated in Europe - or on records. Even in Europe, his precarious health, the quickly changing political climate of the Soviet Union and the vagaries of the record industry have all combined to limit his appearances and the chance to record his particular strengths at the keyboard.
December 10, 2008 |
Daniel Barenboim laughed at the suggestion that his Kimmel Center recital could be a balm amid his densely packed East Coast tour - Tristan und Isolde at the Met; Interventions, the new Elliott Carter concerto, with the Boston Symphony; and a performance by his West-East Divan Orchestra at the United Nations. But a balm is precisely what the Petrarch Sonnets sounded like Monday night in Verizon Hall. The hall was filled with aficionados, but those unfamiliar with Liszt's Years of Pilgrimage: Book Two, Italy may have been blown away by the hush.
June 7, 2003 |
Daniel Barenboim is the kind of guy who might like to capture the fragrance of night-blooming jasmine in a bottle so he could share it with a couple thousand of his closest friends. Thursday night, in a way, he did. By emphasizing single moments of great beauty, by casting certain long passages in diaphanous haze to set them apart from the rest of the music, the pianist was able to hold up to the audience singular instances in Beethoven that showed him to be the most gorgeous composer known.
February 21, 1986 |
Daniel Barenboim, who will play all of the Beethoven piano sonatas in New York this season, gave a precis of his intentions in his recital last night at the Academy of Music. In one night of Beethoven, the pianist can propose a survey or concentrate in one deep stylistic vein. Or he can do as Barenboim, and choose works that reveal the composer's extraordinary growth, at the same time revealing the pianist's present understanding of the music. His program last night began with the Sonata No. 1, moved to the Sonata No. 16 and closed with the Hammerklavier (Sonata No. 29)
October 16, 2002 |
Sometimes high-glam events are better when experienced from a distance - on TV. Suppose, for example, you went to Carnegie Hall's season-opening Oct. 2 concert with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim. Besides paying up to $181 for a ticket, you'd have had to run home early from work for your tuxedo or evening gown, and once at the concert hall, you might have ended up hating your friends because they got a glimpse of Paul Newman in the audience and you didn't.