Pellegrina's Notebook

"In art, as in love, instinct is enough."

Gathering stardust and butterflies

Nice, a good while ago, on an orchestra/choir tour, abandoned in an abrupt and vicious manner by my boyfriend, a violinist friend comforting me, though he was a little tipsy (as was I, as well as incredibly tearful) said some unforgettable words which have marked me since.  I paraphrase slightly: “Barbara – when you give out so much love, one day, if not now, it will come back to you.” AB’s philosophy has come to my mind in the intervening years many times. It is the idea of ‘love karma’. But the memory also elicits the fact that we musicians are strange lot – wayward and romantic all of us, whether we think we are or not (I am a Leo so this is certain! ). Because there is not one note that moves the soul that was not written with a heart of fire, the music we issue drawing out all our desire and passion, stirring us sometimes into very unexpected journeys.

In the years since Nice (a particularly raucous ECYO tour with the Britten War Requiem), my life has spun and turned in this fashion all sorts of ways – the ‘love karma’ floating in, and sadly out. No stronger an example could I give than the past year. I don’t want to bore you with it, but it is almost exactly a year on since my life took on shades of explosive drama and intense emotional pain. I am bound to consider where I was then, and where I am now. In my earlier post in May  https://pellegrina4.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/gathering-stardust-%e2%80%93-living-with-spirit/ I spoke of my rebirth into hope –  my ‘love karma’ rewarding me with joy and perspective again. I also knew that my innate creativity, ostensibly musical – the sense of profound inner joy I receive from music was pulling me out of the listless loneliness I felt. I know that love and music are completely intertwined for me. Both are powerful forces of destiny, both give immutable pleasure and a reassurance that colours all of life.

Since I wrote that post, I have realised that not all is perfect but that I am still receiving my ‘love karma’ – what I have given and what I give now to the things and people that move me is refining my destiny. And my voice, well, my voice feels like it has arrived in a very good place indeed. I am brimming full of ideas and energy and I have hope that, though all is not as I would wish, I am going to find a happy place to be and share that with some special people and a special someone. I know I am. To celebrate this, and another birthday, I am getting a small, pretty tattoo – of a butterfly. The butterfly represents reinvention, reincarnation, the metamorphosis of dark to light. No other symbol so defines my journey to this place. Like the aria I quote in my earlier post  perhaps I should live by the mantra – Io sono l’amore! For as brim full of music I am, love is never far away. It always returns. My butterfly celebrates this hope. Let’s hope it doesn’t hurt too much – what a metaphor for love is that!

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All that is past is but a reflection

Alles Vergängliche

Ist nur ein Gleichnis;

Das Unzulängliche,

Hier wirds Ereignis;

Das Unbeschreibliche,

Hier ist es getan;

Das Ewig-Weibliche Zieht uns hinan.”

‘Chorus Mysticus’ from the final scene of  ‘Faust’  ~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Many moons ago I sang in two performances of Mahler 8 at the Royal Festival Hall conducted by the quiet, nervous and uniquely gifted Klaus Tennstedt, a conductor on whom Mahler had made an indelible mark.  Those few days changed my life forever.  This is not hyberbole – I was very young and I had just started singing after years as a frustrated pianist, and life was clearly revealing the direction I would take.  In the years that followed Mahler’s music and life was to etch a mystical pattern on my journey that is nothing less than extraordinary. I will spare you all the details, but it is just so.

Mahler 8 is not my personal favourite of the symphonies but the spirit of it levels the most banal of feeling and in moments from Part Two – a setting of the final scenes of Goethe’s ‘Faust’, the gnawing and beguiling essence of the Ewig-Weibliche/eternal feminine is as spellbinding as the hymn that intones it – the elemental Chorus Mysticus. It was clear that Mahler’s life had itself guided him towards this idea of the intense femininity of creation and hope and when his marriage lapsed into difficulties and Alma’s infidelity, he dedicated this symphony to her in a passionate plea for her return to him, a plea which moves the symphony into the ecstasy of those final moments.

That moment years ago, singing the Chorus Mysticus,  seeded the creation of the novel I was ‘born’ to write (a novel distinctly tinged with Mahler) and so over the years, Mahler has flowed into and out of my life, firmly echoing the traces of choices I made, good and bad, guiding me to where I should be. In recent years, completing my book, a book which has certainly changed me and my life for it seems I had written in it my own future, it was the Third symphony with its last movement ‘What Love Tells Me’ and the transfiguring opening Adagio of the Tenth, that coloured my writing and provided the ostinato for my narrative.

The idea of redemption and the absolution of emotion underpins Mahler’s music along with his unerring sense of the spiritual yearnings of humanity and where they take us. It is emotionally unnerving, there is no doubt, but as Jung said – “There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.”  It is no wonder then that we hear our own voices stir within Mahler’s sound universe.  For me above all, I can never escape, nor would wish to, that Mahler is always present in my life and the themes return over and over like a karmic incantation much as they did for Mahler himself and for that matter, Alma too. Like the words of the Chorus Mysticus, Mahler is for us the undescribable captured. Bach,  Mozart, Beethoven are all about music. Mahler is about us.  There is no music in the world that so effectively describes us and reminds us that all our emotions – tender, extravagant and passionate, matter and make us. Emotion is self, and self is destiny.

In a perfect confluence of words and music, here is Mahler’s setting of Friedrich Rückert’s ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’. Nothing comes close, in only a few minutes, to describing the prescient emotional  truth of Mahler. Ignore the sentimental overplay of photography – the translation is good and well, as is the magic of Mahler  – you’ll get it. Sung by my lied hero – Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Byla ne byla

If I had a Russian Grandmother, she would have said this to me, as an Italian Nonna would say – ‘quello che sarà, sarà…’ Those who are older than us understand the caprices of fate so much more.  What will be will be… it must be. Yet, when I take a blow I think of the butterfly – the heart of resurrection oblivious to time, reborn in a moment as she must be. I am getting a tattoo of one soon, for the butterfly is my symbol.

I have found when challenged by fate, I only open my arms wider to the world. I have no need after the first pains to sit in loss, I only look it at from ‘both sides now’ as Joni Mitchell sang, and take a measure of what has been thrown at me, learn to see it as it really is – outside of me, certainly not a part of me but of something else, and redress it in possibility. Yes, it probably sounds like a cliché but I look at this ‘imposter just the same’ as if I had been given a great gift.

For what pain should I feel when I have lived in my own truth and once knew the love that climbs into your soul and never leaves, that changes everything?  When I have breathed through every blow and learnt to draw full breath again and love life for its panoply of POSSIBILITY.

There are no rules but possibility – nothing dies to us, it is only reborn in a new form. The energy of life is the old idea of the law of attraction – you draw it to yourself, you magnetise it, not by the confinement of hope to one thing or one idea, the labelling of desire. Open it out and see what else you can see in the folds that are hidden for an action disguises so many things.

To be happy is to feel the bounty of life’s rhythms – fast, slow, moderato, inbetween the occassional interrupted cadence.  The surprise intake of breath – the unexpected oxygen of hope can lie in the most mordant of gestures. Nothing is as bad as it seems and sometimes it is better.  What you desire will come to you – byla ne byla – and it will be beautiful, kinder and more replete than you had hoped.

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

For no reason at all but that she is wonderful, here is my namesake singing the ravishing ‘L’Aigle Noir’ –

Brazen beauty – the life and art of Veronica Franco

“When we too are armed and trained, we can convince men that we have hands, feet, and a heart like yours; and although we may be delicate and soft, some men who are delicate are also strong; and others, coarse and harsh, are cowards. Women have not yet realized this, for if they should decide to do so, they would be able to fight you until death; and to prove that I speak the truth, amongst so many women, I will be the first to act, setting an example for them to follow.”

Veronica Franco (1546–1591), was a 16th century Venetian courtesan and poet and in part inspiration for Pellegrina, a character in my Venetian set novel and for whom this blog is named. She lived an extraordinary life as a cortigiana onesta –  a high-class Venetian courtesan who was well- educated and versed in the art of poetic and courtly love as well as physical pleasures.  Veronica is named as one of the most celebrated of them in the Catalogo di tutte le principale et piu honorate cortigiane di Venezia, a sort of guidebook for wealthy men seeking to indulge in the ars amoris of Venice, which contained the names and addresses of the finest courtesans in the Serene Republic. Married as a teenager, when the marriage failed Veronica was left in precarious circumstances, not least in fear of destitution, so she decided to seek her fortune and destiny in order to support herself and her child as cortegiana onesti could do very well for themselves and were held in high esteem in Venetian society.

However, it was an ambivalent role and women as intelligent and beautiful as Veronica, holding court in the sovereign echelons of Venetian patrician society and with incredible access to those in power (indeed she was courted by and had a passionate liason with Henry III of France) were prone to be treated with suspicion by the authorities, and Veronica was defamed  by the notorious Venetian inquisition for witchcraft, for which, due in part to her patrician connections, she was eventually cleared.  Furthermore, Veronica not content with being just an adornment in high chopines, also wrote and published her own poems and letters, works as powerful and spirited as any of those by Petrarch or Boccaccio, as well as those of other writers and founded a charity to support courtesans and their children.  Veronica’s portrait was painted by several distinguished artists, such as Tintoretto and Veronese.

Capitolo 13

(a playful challenge to a lover:)

No more words! To deeds, to the battlefield, to arms!
For, resolved to die, I want to free myself
from such merciless mistreatment.
Should I call this a challenge? I do not know,
since I am responding to a provocation;
but why should we duel over words?
If you like, I will say that you challenged me;
if not, I challenge you; I’ll take any route,
and any opportunity suits me equally well.
Yours be the choice of place or of arms,
and I will make whatever choice remains;
rather, let both be your decision….

Come here, and, full of most wicked desire,
braced stiff for your sinister task,
bring with daring hand a piercing blade.
Whatever weapon you hand over to me,
I will gladly take, especially if it is sharp
and sturdy and also quick to wound.
Let all armor be stripped from your naked breast,
so that, unshielded and exposed to blows,
it may reveal the valor it harbours within.
Let no one else intervene in this match,
let it be limited to the two of use alone,
behind closed doors, with all seconds sent away….

To take revenge for your unfair attack,
I’d fall upon you, and in daring combat,
as you too caught fire defending yourself,
I would die with you, felled by the same blow.
O empty hopes, over which cruel fate
forces me to weep forever!
But hold firm, my strong, undaunted heart,
and with that felon’s final destruction,
avenge your thousand deaths with his one.
Then end your agony with the same blade…..

Capitolo 21

(on an absent lover…)

I said: “My heart, if my own weapons
do this to me, what will those do
with which cruel fortune pierces me?”
If I myself feel, having fled far from my love,
that pain closes in on me ever more,
that my leaving brings it closer to me,
I must surely have taken medicine opposed
to my languid state and to my heart’s raving,
which sends me down a miserable path…..

“Such,” I say, “is my love’s handsome face,
where heaven bestowed all of its gifts,
and nature most reveals her perfection.”
Then when I see through the dark night
so many stars light up in the sky,
Love, who is with me, assures me and swears
that those lights in the sky, fair and everlasting,
are not as numerous as the virtues of the man
who ruthlessly tears the soul from my breast.
And to make my days even sadder and darker,
far from my light, I always carry alive in my heart
the burning sun from which I once caught fire,
to whom, weeping and sighing, I write……..

One hundred hours of forgetting – a thousand years of memory

We can all do this.  Maybe these moments are all that matter – maybe they form the soul. This is just an exercise in forgiving time for moving on, changing and changing us; for it really doesn’t matter when the exuberant or delicate pictures of our senses touched and moved mark the beginning and end of us. These moments are our immeasurable experience of a lively and sensual world and a reminder that we are born to be only our essence – disparate, passionate and free.

There may be hundreds, there may be ten. Here are some of mine in no order, just as I feel them come back to me:

Chartres Cathedral. Aged six. The impact of stained glass. I wept.

Seeing the Hrad across the Charles Bridge in Prague for the first time, in moonlight.

Paddling in coral sand, aged seven, Connemara, Ireland.

The Bach Concerto for Two Violins. Largo. Always as if I would float away.

The scent of lilac.

Singing The Chorus Mysticus in Mahler 8, conducted by Klaus Tennstedt.

Under a lemon tree with a lover on Hydra.

My true ‘inner smile’ revisiting me, not that long ago, looking into the azure sky across the Thames,  listening to Chopin.

First day in Florence two years ago – breathing in liberty.

Discovering Beethoven piano sonatas, aged 12.

My mother’s embrace.

Evening in the Piazza Bra in Verona, after performing Rossini in the Arena.

Moments when I live inside the worlds I have created in my books. Knowing their colours, music and fragrance.

Sunset: pink, peach and refulgant, anywhere.

A voice – the most silken sounding rich voice.

The opera Garnier,  Paris. Always.

A beautiful head resting on me.

Ladurée macarons crumbling into my lap sitting on the Pont des Arts.

THE kiss… I’ll say no more…

~Et in Arcadia ego~



Gathering stardust – living with spirit

Fu in quel dolore
che a me venne l’amor!
Voce piena d’armonia e dice:
“Vivi ancora! Io son la vita!
Ne’ miei occhi è il tuo cielo!

It was then, in my grief,
that love came to me!
And murmured in a sweet, melodious voice
“You must live! I am life itself!
Heaven is in your eyes!

In the past few weeks I have experienced the reawakening of something that had remained elusive to me for the last few years as life pulled me into a difficult and traumatic personal situation. While I struggled to cope there were certainly moments of clarity and hope but until the curtain had been drawn on it I could not see what it really was. The immense sense of loss I felt for the great joy I had been given only to have it brutally taken away was as palpable as the death of someone very close well before their time.  This joy itself had been hard won after years of struggle and was then so appallingly lost. I had called it my ‘rose domino’ moment –  inspired by the sight of hundreds of toppling red dominoes I had seen once on French TV – the sense of release – the culmination of building something into a moment of intense spiritual unity, freedom and relief. But it was gone.

Day after day I keened for its return but nothing came back and I had to painfully turn the leaves of time and deal with the immense void its loss left. However, as this blog might occasionally testify, I did feel I had some form of spiritual strength growing inside of me.  It was only when I reached the strange culmination of events earlier this year that I realised that the journey had elicited in me strengths I did not know I possessed. The only challenge that remained to me was to trust my capacity for love and to trust once again in all those I would allow close.  For me, to close off the spirit of love is to close off life and that spirit is the same that allows words and music to flow through me. That was the difficult part. However, in the last few months  I have  begun to see the light that had withdrawn from me return through the unquiet of my own noisy spirit – through my creativity, through these words I write, in the notes I sing and I play, and my courage began to return.

I saw the film ‘I am Love’ recently, Tilda Swinton and Luca Guadagnino’s tribute to classic Italian cinema, and absorbed its theme of the rebirth of  a suppressed identity through memory, desire and love. It takes its title from the aria La Mamma Morta (some of the words of which are above) in Giordano’s opera Andrea Chenier. The Countess de Coigny recalls that in the darkest moments of her despair and grief the voice and spirit of love awakens her hope.  If I had not clung to this hope myself my victory might have been unnoticed but the truth is that nothing dies to us, it is only born again in a new form.  Nor is true happiness  found in outer success, material possessions, laurels and rewards  – some things I have, others I did and lost, and some I have not at all. Joy is the triumph of creative journeying with every step laced through with the spirit and hope of love.  There is no ‘art’ in itself, there is just the art of living with creative imagination and without love, and the hope of love,  that cannot breathe. My faith has already proven itself – I am my own joy and Heaven is in my eyes.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”

Jalal-al-Din Rumi

We are such stuff as dreams are made on

I have been captured by visions, by the substance and ideas of last words, last notes, last strokes of paint – the eschatology of art.  The creative process is very apposite to summing up, and all artists tend to flow toward the inevitable last moments of their gifts, flourishing like the small flowering bud that waits for the last moments of spring to kick forth its bloom and colour into the unfolding majesty of a new season.  Some of the greatest works of art are born in the last years of a life’s pattern, the rupturing defiance of death or illness, or ignominy –  Shakespeare’s last plays, notably The Tempest, from whence I take my title,  Beethoven’s Goliath glory bursting into the Grosse Fugue and the Last Quartets, along with Goya’s Black Paintings or Schubert’s last piano sonatas.

All works mentioned have a refined sense of the metaphysical, they tip onto the edge of a strange and beguiling end.  There is always something more to say and as one gets older the conduits of self-expression multiply and vex.  Early talent settles and we begin to sense our small part in the proportion of stardust accorded to us. Art, after all, is the defiance of mortality, of ephemera, and music in particular is a stretching sinew of our immortality, in whatever way we choose to structure it.

Nothing declares that more than in Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue.  Schubert’s last piano sonatas too, are full of pertinent edginess, to the point that they jump out of time and context altogether in places just as much as the searing craziness and fury of the Grosse Fugue or the bitten and sordid dreams of Goya’s  Black Paintings.   This is when we observe – doesn’t this sound modern, look modern?  These artists have poked their  fists into the future and proven that great art is beyond time and vanquishes the sting of death itself – its voices mingle into the stardust of our present, be it indeed clothed as an ‘insubstantial pageant’.

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. …”

The silent woman ~ the strange love of Alma and Oskar

Alma Mahler was a widow for a year when she met the painter Oskar Kokoschka. Having annulled her relationship with Walter Gropius to repair her marriage to Gustav Mahler and to enjoy a semblance of connubial happiness prior to his death in May 1911, Alma was drifting into another intense episode of her life.  Kokoschka presented as a fiery and turbulent protagonist compared to the serious, intense Mahler and the elegant Gropius and Alma was entranced.

Shortly after their meeting Kokoschka wrote her a passionate letter, devoting himself to her and begging to marry her and it wasn’t long before Alma and Oskar became embedded in an intense erotic saga, a folie à deux, that was to last three years.   Throughout this time Oskar’s indiscreet and explosive obsession with Alma evolved in his art, in his famous seven painted fans depicting his love for her and the notorious painting ‘Die Windsbraut’ – The Bride of the Wind.  This celebrated painting features the sepulchral looking artist gripping the curvaceous and glowing body of Alma – as if he would die the moment she let him go.

Alma found the relationship exhausting with the physical and emotional demands of her jealous lover stifling and eventually frightening.  Even Oskar’s mother realised that her son was in the grip of erotomania and begged Alma to let him go. The trouble was Alma tried and he wouldn’t.  When she became pregnant by him she had the child aborted out of fear but this made things worse for poor Oskar. However, the approaching war provided a distraction for the painter and he enlisted, probably at Alma’s behest.  He got a commission with the assistance of a friend and left for the front in his K und K uniform finery.  Unfortunately, he received a serious bayonet injury to the head in Galicia and was sent to convalesce, seeing out of the war in a struggle to regain his physical and mental strength, pining for Alma and his dead child.

In this time, Alma had resumed her affair with the more refined and aristocratic Walter Gropius and they announced their marriage in 1915, further crushing Kokoschka.  In 1918 in an attempt to finally exorcise his subjugation to his passion, knowing he had lost her to Gropius, he commissioned the Munich based doll- maker Hermine Moos to make a life-sized doll of Alma, replete in all details.  It was even said to have included Alma’s pubic hair.  On completion of the project, Oskar proudly brought his ‘escort’ out into Viennese society, walking her around the Ringstrasse and taking her to the opera, inciting a mix of outrage, concern and hilarity among his peers.  It was soon clear however, that the doll which he called ‘the silent woman’, was unable to resolve any of his unending erotic desire for his lost love and it was destroyed.

As the painter later remarked :

Finally, after I had drawn it and painted it over and over again, I decided to do away with it. It had managed to cure me completely of my passion. So I gave a big champagne party with chamber music, during which my maid Hulda exhibited the doll in all its beautiful clothes for the last time. When dawn broke – I was quite drunk, as was everyone else – I beheaded it out in the garden and broke a bottle-of red wine over its head.

I want you to know

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

~Pablo Neruda~


It is that day when we honour an obscure Roman martyr who has little to do with the romantic love we all yearn for, but is attached to a clumsy, commercial holiday pervasively marked by vulgar pink clouds of hearts and cheap roses. However, we all know that romantic love deserves so much more than that and so I have edited this post to honour the day my way, with Pablo’s help.

This is my favourite love poem – it captures the memory of love as well as its warming hope, its succour, its aching poignancy, and most of all its truth. This poem is not sentimental in the least and will draw each one of us back to something we have felt for someone or still do. For me, I know I can say little here to you – you may not know me or the things of which I speak. I am marked forever by something – you need not understand how or why, nor need you accept it but that will never change me or it.  A piece of my soul is shot into a thousand pieces like stardust and goes out there and finds its home. That is its nature.  I cannot explain it to anyone – it just is. Only two people know what it is, and others who wrote books about such things, and they were true.

This is my Valentine to me, because where there was suffering, a thousand times over I still wouldn’t change a thing. True and unconditional love is the smile you cannot see – don’t look for it, let it sneek up behind you and kiss your stiff limbs and straighten your fears and you will be forever changed.  I hope it finds you,  if it hasn’t already.

Musica Universalis ~ The art of being Daniel Barenboim

Last night I attended one of the much lauded appearances of Daniel Barenboim conducting the Staatskapelle Berlin at The Royal Festival Hall, in programmes of Schönberg and Beethoven.  Barenboim has been the musical director of the Staatskapelle and Staatsoper Unter den Linden since 1992, proudly supporting their Eastern European traditions,  which were redolent in the smoothly crafted sound of the strings, ever so slightly dry, that shone in Schönberg’s augmented string sextet Verklärte Nacht, heavily reminiscent of Wagner. Barenboim followed with a reading of Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto, which was as lively and lucid as I have ever heard. Even a few slips on the keys could not mar the exuberance and vivid expression of a Maestro at the apex of his art.

Barenboim has stepped from child prodigy to one half of one of most well-known musical couples – indeed it was his being the husband of ‘cellist Jacqueline du Pré that brought him more into the collective consciousness of this country, to revered Maestro and humanitarian. His journey through his art is a fascinating one. It is Daniel’s strident need to express that ‘Everything is Connected’ (his latest book) that makes him so appealing to me – an artist who expresses that art exists not in the shackles of vacuous tradition but that the truly great artist has gifts of communication that extend beyond any boundaries. I refer to this connexion as zwischenart (I apologise for my crude German compound noun!) – neither one or the other but between two or more worlds.

Beautiful art and great music does not hush the business of a restless mind to a single focus, nor is it created out of a void but from the design of a peculiar pattern of genius and even then that can exist, as was the case with Wagner, against a torment of contradictions and shadows placed against it. Barenboim understands this more than anyone and has spent a lifetime championing the music of Wagner when it was denigrated by Wagner’s association with the common cultural anti-Semitism of 19th century Europe later reinvigorated by the Third Reich. Wagner was the ultimate integrated artist – writing his own libretti, forging new theories of stagecraft, performance protocols,  and vividly theorising these into the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk, in the same way as Barenboim matches his musical personality to truth-seeking, justice and cross-cultural mutual understanding.

It is no wonder that Beethoven speaks so well through the fingers of Barenboim. Beethoven was the first composer to really imbue his work with a strongly innate humanism.  He wove the echoes of his times into his music, taking the remnants of Sturm und Drang and the Enlightenment into the new realms of romantic freedoms – the freedom to reflect in your work the idée fixe of one’s passions, not only the internal but the external passion for society.

For Beethoven and for Barenboim, music is a tool of reconciliation and not just of comfort. As Barenboim states as his hypothesis in ‘Everything is Connected’, music can provide an “alternative social model where Utopia and practicality join forces”. As Beethoven disclosed his feelings about Napoleon in his symphonies, Barenboim directs his justice and understanding seeking through his baton and his fingers and from there into words as the internationalist statesman of music. Art informs and we live – ‘In art as in love, instinct is enough’ as Anatole France had it, but genius cannot exist without instinct. Everything IS connected and Daniel Barenboim has successfully woven his instinct into a beguiling hope, not just for his beloved Levant, but for the world.

Daniel Barenboim\’s website