Concert Review: West-Eastern Divan brings message of unity to Carnegie

Posted on: February 7, 2013

In Tuesday’s (2/5) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini writes, “Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony culminates with the ultimate call for understanding and joy among all people, the ‘just and unjust’ alike, to translate a crucial phrase from Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy,’ the text for the final choral movement. … On Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Hall Daniel Barenboim conducted the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, the Westminster Symphonic Choir and four starry vocal soloists in a strongly conceived, sometimes impetuous yet finally triumphant account of the entire work. The performance concluded the orchestra’s four-concert survey of Beethoven’s nine symphonies that began last Wednesday night. The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra brings together young Israeli and Palestinian and other Arab musicians for an extensive summer training institute and international concert tours. … The operating principle of the ensemble is that through working together and engaging in dialogue, young musicians from cultures steeped in enmity can find understanding. … In the final movement, when the unison cellos and basses first played the ‘Ode to Joy’ theme, Mr. Barenboim kept the tempo restrained and the sound almost inaudible. … But as the music progressed, the performance was impassioned, exciting and certainly never predictable. … The tumultuous ovation from the audience went on and on.”

Posted February 7, 2013