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Classical Notes: May 1, 2006 Archive

Daniel Barenboim: the new Bernstein?

Posted at 8:43 PM on May 1, 2006 by John Zech
Filed under: The blog

One of the events that nudged me into the world of classical music radio was the brilliant series of Norton lectures given at Harvard by Leonard Bernstein in 1973 and titled The Unanswered Question.

Lucky for me, they were on TV for free. Lucky for you, you can still buy them or find them at many libraries on video or DVD. I remember being swept away by this man who was incredibly passionate about the beauty and meaning of music--all kinds of music--and he showed us with his illustrations at the piano how we are born with the ability to appreciate the forms of music, and how musical syntax is rooted in the forms of nature.

Well, there is a new series of lectures that has just been given by pianist, conductor and peace activist, Daniel Barenboim. They are the Reith Lectures 2006, given for the BBC who have put them on their website. I only just discovered them tonight and haven't gotten very far into them, but it's really good stuff so far--the meaning of music, music's meaning to society. "The inexpressible content of music and in many ways the inexpressible content of life" as he puts it. The first lecture is called "In the Beginning was Sound." You can listen to it or read it here.