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Daniel Barenboim biography part 3: 1954-1955
based on Barenboim's A Life in Music
Article added on January 21, 2003

 
In the summer of 1954, Barenboim's parents decided that their son should go to Salzburg to study conducting with Markevich, who wanted Daniel to stop playing the piano and concentrate on conducting only (at the age of eleven). Luckily, Barenboim's father successfully resisted Markevich's pressure.
 
As the only child of the group, Barenboim had a hard time since his fellow students were conductors already and not very much interested in him, with the exception of Herbert Blomstedt who always took the time to explain things to Daniel, who only spoke poor English and only the German he had picked up as a nine-year-old in Vienna and Salzburg. By the way, Markevich's assistant was Wolfgang Sawallisch.
 
Daniel was also handicapped by the fact that Ben-Haim had simplified things too much in his theoretical teachings in Israel. These errors were finally resolved in the winter of 1955 when Barenboim studied with Nadia Boulanger.
 
In the summer of 1954, Daniel met Wilhelm Furtwängler in Salzburg. Furtwängler was impressed by the boy's piano playing and wrote what became Barenboim's letter of introduction for the next twenty years: "The eleven-year-old Barenboim is a phenomenon...". Furtwängler also invited Daniel to play with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, but Barenboim's father declined; Barenboim thinks that his father felt that it was to soon after the Holocaust for a Jewish family to travel from Israel to Germany. In Salzburg, Daniel attended several rehearsals by Furtwängler. His methods were almost exactly the opposite of what Barenboim was taught in class every day, e.g. Furtwängler's way of conducting was very intuitive as far as gesture was concerned.
 
Unfortunately, the conductor died in November 1954. After his death, Barenboim went to his house in Switzerland where his wife let him look at his scores. Barenboim remembers that most of the markings had to do with balance and the relative strengths of the dynamics. He realized how much Furtwängler's "intuitive" conducting was, in fact, thought out. According to Barenboim, Furtwängler was able to give the Berlin Philharmonic something which continues to be transmitted from one generation to the next.
 
Click here for Part 1 of Barenboims' biography; Part 2 of Barenboims' biography;
Part 4: 1955-56 & Arthur Rubinstein.






Daniel Barenboim: A Life in Music. Weidenfeld & Nicholson, September 2002, 246 p. Get the English edition of the autobiography from Amazon.co.uk,
Amazon.com (another edition?), Amazon.fr, Amazon.de. Deutsche Ausgabe Die Musik, mein Leben. Autobiografie bestellen bei Amazon.de. A Life in Music is not an autobiography in the strict sense. Barenboim does not refer to private or personal matters. The book is not simply a revised edition, updated ten years later, as Barenboim has added six new chapters.
 

Barenboim, Celibidache, Münchner Philharmoniker: Schumann Piano Concerto, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1. Order the CD from Amazon.com, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de.
 

Daniel Barenboim: Albéniz Iberia Book 1 & 2, España. Order the CD from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de.