Something Jewish, Furtwangler & DB

Dear New York Folks,

This is Jiwon.

I am tired to death. Meanwhile… I am sleepy. I slept all day and still sleepy. Caffein doesn’t work and I thought it was due to my mental depression. I still think so, but I also feel that my physical condition is another reason. When I exercise in a specific way, I feel all my muscles are working toward something to stimulate one particular muscle group, then my wish to sleep is gone. After exercise, it is already toward the midnight and I never want to work all night. (No more bloody waste in the morning toilet, please. Which was one reason why I had no choice but to quit this computer work years ago, perhaps in 2002.)

I wake up in the morning, and then, I feel heavy, sleepy… Finally… sitting on another chair makes me feel better. Much better. I change my pillow again. Much much better. What I need more is not a cheep exercise but an expensive orthodontics and no heavy glasses, and I am penniless. Ha! I am just tired. Want to finish this fucking, useless work as soon as possible and return to the original place, where I should belong to.

Story 1-4: (Done!)

Story 5: Barenboim (Starting…)

Story 5+: Something Jewish (Today‘s story)

Story 5+: German… whatever (Done!)

Story 5+: Furtwangler (Done!)

Story 5+: Du Pre / Bitch (Done???)

Story 5+: Zukerman, Barenboim’s carbon copy (Done!)

Story 5+: Divan (Done!)

Story 5+: *** (Done!)

Story 5: Daniel Barenboim

5-1. Things that I can not understand. (Divans)

5-2. What specific did Barenboim pick up from my previous writings?

5-3. Who I think Barenboim is.

Forumites wrote in their “Furtwangler” debate.

Forumite-5: To me, when Barenboim is “on,” he’s very good.  But when he’s “off,” results can be disastrous.

Feeling headache, I want to send this part first.

Story 5+: Something Jewish

While reading Forumites’ postings about [Why is Barenboim considered similar to Furtwangler?], I burst out laughing: “Well, have *you* ever seen a photograph of the two of them standing next to each other?”

It was from the same Jewish guy, whose Mehta posting drew my attention. It was so funny, so humorous that I wanted to go further. Searching for his specific opinions about Daniel Barenboim.  

(October 8, 2003) OTOH, last year, during intermission at an IPO concert, the woman who had the seat next to mine happened to mention that she had written to them complaining that Barenboim was to perform with them. Their response to her was that he doesn’t take a fee for his IPO appearances, so they had little choice if they wanted to balance their budget. (FWIW, rumor has it that Perlman also does his annual IPO concert — he conducts now rather than plays — for free.)

(Jan. 21, 2004) I may be wrong — and if you have evidence to the contrary, I would gladly accept the correction — but the ban on Wagner’s music being performed in public in Israel is not governmental censorship, but rather self-censorship by performers who are taking into consideration the sensitivities of their audience, i.e. the people who pay the bills. When Barenboim decided to perform Wagner here, no one arrested him, only muttered things along the lines of “as if we needed any further proof of what kind of person he really is…

(July 15, 2004) [All I said is that I have NEVER in 35 years in Berlin witnessed any anti-semitic acts or even heard any comments, and I have NEVER personally spoken to anyone who held remotely anti-semitic views. There may be a few, but I have never met them. So, whatever the level of anti-semitism in NY may be, in Berlin it is virtually unnoticeable. Those Israeli friends I mentioned also confirmed this to me. It is kind of a standard question you ask people from Israel, how do you feel living here, with the things that happened and all? They all seemed to like it very much and planned to stay.] – This is known as the “small numbers” phenomenon. Your personal experience is not something from which one can extrapolate to the community as a whole… You have to keep in mind that the people you met are almost certainly not typical of Israelis in general, but rather of a certain subset of the society whose attitudes are far to the left of the community as a whole. I suspect that they are no more typical Israelis than Daniel Barenboim is.

(January 27, 2005) [NY Times, January 26, 2005 / Barenboim Criticizes Israeli Views By DANIEL J. WAKIN] – Barenboim is an idiot, at least politically. which is probably why you are so enamored of him. – [Mr. Barenboim, an Israeli who is a frequent defender of Palestinian rights] – Does Mr. Barenboim actually live in Israel?  Why is it more accurate to call him an Israeli than to call him an Argentinian?… In case anyone was unsure about Barenboim’s understanding of history and politics.

(February 6, 2005) [Thank you for the advice! I’ve just ordered Barenboim’s Magnificat. In the same CD there is also his version of Faure’s Requiem, that I’ve been wanting to listen for years.] – Why?  I certainly *hope* that it’s the most boring version on record; if it’s not, I shudder to think of what that other recording must sound like. At least (if you’re lucky) that CD won’t contain his recording of the Faure Pavane.

(September 12, 2005) [Perhaps you should put this directly to Barenboim, who brought up the mobile phone issue in the first place.] – The most polite interpretation that can be placed on Barenboim’s behavior is that he is exceptionally naive. Although I happen to not entirely disagree with Anshel Pfeffer’s column in last Friday’s _Jerusalem Post_ in which he argued that it is not appropriate for a reporter from Army Radio to attempt to interview someone while in uniform (and that by extension, Army Radio should not exist at all).

(Nov. 3, 2005) [My distaste for the criticism of Barenboim is NOT on musical grounds, but for his political views, which do not have a connection with his musical ones. Those who often criticize Barenboim are really discussing his politics. He is one of the true certified musical geniuses of our day. If you don’t like him, fine. But his genius is not in doubt.] – As for me, I have heard Barenboim perform live (as a pianist) and he’s certainly a good one. His conducting, IMO, has too much of a tendency toward the boring and stodgy for me to consider him a genius.  And if I were going to object to him on personal grounds, it would be for the way he treated his late wife rather than his political views.

(Apr. 27, 2006) [positive comments about the Barenboim Mahler 7th] – In order to get a better understanding of what your recommendation really means, let me ask. what do you think of the Bernstein/NYPO recording of Mahler’s 7th, and what do you think of the Barbirolli Mahler 5th? Let’s just say that I’m surprised to hear that Barenboim has it in him to put together a convincing performance of Mahler’s 7th symphony. – [bla, bla, bla] – Then maybe this really will be a good opportunity for me to overcome my “Barenboim is boring” prejudice…


If you waste more time, you can easily figure out why Barenboim’s Mahler sounds weirdly unique. They wrote the exact reason. It seems to be the exact combination of Barenboim’s unbalanced Beethoven and manipulated Schubert.

While reading those postings, I start to kind of “respect” his opinions, not because of his questionable musical taste, but because I could smell his personality from his writings.

His way of thinking just reminds me of what I heard from the normal people who enjoy talking about Jewish value.

The Jewish value, which I could never find from Barenboim-Gang or even Barenboim himself since his mother’s death. My chose of the word may be wrong; Jewish value? Or Jewishness? Or Jewish education? Something Jewish, anyway…

Elena Bashkirova’s Jerusalem Festival is now more than successful with all sold-out concerts. (They claim. It reminds me of Korean system, though…)

Therefore, still weird to find this Jewish opinion, which was written even after Barenboim’s “Elena & Son” concerts were televised nationwide: “And if I were going to object to him on personal grounds, it would be for the way he treated his late wife rather than his political views.”

Then, his writing reminds me of my first discovery from the Google Group: “Daniel Barenboim, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Director, married Russian musician, Galina Bashkirova. But of course, she isn’t really musician, but a whore…. (July 12, 1999 from the ‘soc.culture.russian’)”

Is it merely my over-reaction?

Please compare these opinions with Elena Bashkirova’s homepage:  An unforgetable “Trout” Quintet: “36 years have passed since the young 27 year old Daniel Barenboim, already at the peak of his career, performed Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet with Itzhak Perlman on the violin, Pinchas Zukerman on the viola, Barenboim’s wife, cellist Jacqueline du Pre, and Zubin Mehta on the double bass, each and everyone a star in his own right…” (Noam Ben Ze’ev: Ha’aretz 5.9.05). Many of those present in the audience in the YMCA Concert Hall last night (3.9.05) remembered this performance. Once again Daniel Barenboim sat at the piano, now with his son Michael Barenboim on the violin, Amichai Grosz on the viola, Kyril Zlotnikov on Jacqueline du Pre’s cello presented to him by Daniel Barenboim, and with Nabil Shehata on the double bass. And, as he had at that performance so long ago, the conductor Lawrence Foster turned the pages for Barenboim. “This was a great performance, which reaffirmed for us yet again that classical music is able to produce a great experience, rich in emotion, intellect and beauty.” (Ha’aretz 4.9.05)

It was last year when I found another Jewish forum, but I am not sure if it is the right thing to send it.

This “Israel’s daily newsmagazine – Israel Insider” insists to be “an independent, nonpartisan online publication that aims to provide an ‘inside perspective’ on the latest news, analysis and commentary from and about Israel”. When I first found it in 2001, it looked like the leftists’ favorite magazine. During my second reading, I am very confused. Forumites sound like the rightists.

Well… I am still the one who can not tell the difference between the two political groups, the left and right wings, because I still hear two different words from the news, the leftists’ communism and Japanese ultrarightist organization, and both sound same to me.

I just feel headache. I just feel that, in Israeli case, rabbis are usually politically the rightists and the leftists say the opposite things, and therefore, Daniel Barenboim is an extremely leftist.

Whatever… it is still worth reading, I think.  Barenboim breaks Wagner taboo after all (July 9, 2001):

JIWON: No postings in this article.  Kach activists abuse Barenboim (September 12, 2002):  

JIWON: Many responded to this article. Typical ones whether they are pro or con. The funniest posting among them. So funny…:


JIWON: Interesting opinions start to appear.

Forumite-1 (From New York): Consider: I know how antri-Jewish Wagner was, but cant we separate his music from the man? My grandfather came to Palestine in 1920 and help build up Israel. A devoted Jew and Zionist, whatever he thought about Wagner, he enjoyed his music.

Forumite-2 (From USA): [Consider] – I agree completely… Barenboim’s pro-palestinian views and actions are another matter. Wagner was nothing that unusual as an anti-semite (he got all his energy from it..and it probably started with his hatred of Mendelssohn whose music he imitated at first) Hitler didn’t need Wagner..and it is also the case that Hitler probably preferred musical comedy to Wagner. The pro-palestinian views and actions of Barenboim are something else, however. It is interesting that there is so much tolerance when it comes to that. it angers me..a lot. (Continued…) [Broken promises] – A lot of people who are not banned in any way in Israel have had the same kind of anti-semitic views that Wagner and Hitler have had. They worked in genetics. (and that does not exclude some still alive) I don’t think Israelis should have to exclude Wagner’s music from their lives. (might be nice if someone talented could rewrite the librettos since Wagner wrote some of the worst German in history but that would be a large undertaking). It is also to be noted that Islam is legal in Israel..the Koran is as bad as Mein Kampf. Barenboim’s pro-palestinian views and actions are something else. This should be the number one consideration. He doesn’t deserve any prizes anyway. He’s not that wonderful a musician. Give a posthumous prize to Jacqueline DuPre instead. (Continued…) Regarding the Wolf Foundation prize: After reading part of the article again I am really puzzled as to the purpose of this prize (and the work of the foundation that gives…it) Am I correct in assuming that this prize has nothing to do with achievements in Music or Science per se..? It would appear then that Barenboim is being rewarded for his po-palestinian activities… At least I’m not pro-palestinian.  Conductor Daniel Barenboim receives Wolf Prize, attacks occupation (May 10, 2004)

Forumite-3 (From USA): Rubbish: I wonder how sensitive to his “neighbors” Mr. Barenboim would be if some splodeydope blew his family into oblivion on a bus, in a restaurant, at the market, or mercilessly shot on the highway, like the Hatuel family. What an egregious lack of class, tact, grace, and decency.

Forumites (From USA): bla-bla-bla

Forumite-2 (From USA): [Machines Can’t Suffer] – The thing about Wagner is really a separate problem. Wagner is not the only composer who was anti-semitic and/or favored by Hitler. Their music is performed whether or not holocaust victims are in the audience. It’s also the case that so many older films have scores that sound like or imitate Wagner that I don’t know how Wagner can be avoided. Theodorakis is apparently quite popular in Israel..maybe just on records. Obviously if Barenboim agreed not to conduct Wagner and then did conduct it..he could have been sued. (breach of oral contract?) But then again Israel has inherited a lot of rotten British laws so maybe not.

Forumite-4 (From USA): The conductor is correct: Unfortunately, too many wackos on this list are too far gone to see it.

Forumites (From USA): bla-bla-bla

Forumite-5 (From Berlin): [The conductor is correct] – Nothing wrong in listening to Wagner, or Mozart, and Beethoven… all the darlings of Hitler and the Third reich. I agree with the composer on this issue. Music is music, and art is art. If you enjoy listening to 4 plus hours of a lady singing her guts out so be it…We all like Mendelssohn, yet his family all disavowed Judaism. On the other issue of praising the Palestinians in an acceptance speech, that is the wrong venue at the wrong time. Free speech does exist in Israel and when the award was given everyone most probably knew that Barenboim would say something like what he said. I did see barenboim in Berlin not too long ago. He is a good conductor, but I wouldn’t classify him as a great conductor. 

Forumite-2 (From USA): [Pal moslem musicians?] – Out of curiosity does anyone know of any moslem pals who are musicians? (western classical music.) Elsewhere in the Arab world there is-was a good orchestra in Baghdad and there are women with a group in Cairo. But what about the moslem pals? What kind of musicianship is being taught by Barenboim?(In fact what is he teaching in general…) (Continued…) [The conductor is correct] – Basically I agree about music. However, if an agreement is made not to play something..that should be part of the contract. What if Barenboim had decided to play Theodorakis’ ‘palestinian national anthem’? Hopefully that anthem will never have a country to be played in. Wagner is banned only from certain kinds of performances. It is not illegal to own recordings..etc. If it were..this would be totally unacceptable. It might be a good idea to interview holocaust survivors in connection with this matter of certain kinds of public performances. I don’t think Barenboim is anything wonderful. How did he get that job in Germany?  Minister Livnat denounces conductor Barenboim as ‘real anti-Semite’ (September 3, 2005)

Forumite-6 (From USA): Entertainment and politics don’t mix: he may be a good musician but, he’s a pizz poor person. What an azz. Jew? hmm gotta think about that one. Would he have refused to ‘play’ for the nazis if he were in a camp? Would he be so selective as to insult them? This azz sides with Israels enemies and feels justified as to whom he refuses to speak with ( if an Israeli in a uniform) yet, writes a book with a pal. What a guy. Nero had nothing on this azz. (Continued…) He’s spoiling the music: it smells now.  (Continued…) How to help the kids who suffered from Katrina: There’s an agency set up in Houston specifically for kids who were so harshly affected by Katrina, Here’s the address for any who wish to help the least among us… Thank You, Shalom

Forumite-7 (From USA): Barenboim: Words, words, words. Some like him, some don’t. Threre are always people who read things differently.

Forumite-8 (From Israel): barenboim is a yeudon: Barenboim is a yehudon- a sick ghetto jew- filled with self hate and love of the nazi mohammedan enemy. Barenboim is scum and should be boycotted by all proud Israelis and Jews and friends of the Jewish people. He should be excommunicated by us all. He is the evil in our midst and an example of the very worst of the dirty leftist traitors. Let us not forget how he treated his own wife! I wish him lots of pain andsuffering- him and his friends!

Forumite-9 (From USA): Barenboim has changed: I remember in the anxious days leading up to The Six Day War when Daniel Barenboim arrived from London with his bride, Jaqueline DuPre and Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zuckerman and Zubin Mehta (before his association with the IPO). They came to raise spirits in the darkest days when others were leaving. Barenboim was then a proud Israeli. The intervening years have changed him. He now openly supports those who work for destruction of Israel and refers to the late Dr. Said as his “soul mate.”

Forumite-2 (From USA): Sad and ironic to think of such changes.

Forumite-10 (From USA): Barenboim is a selfhating *ss: he always has been! Zubin Mehta has FAR more decency and class toward Israel, and he was not even Jewish!  Barenboim rationalizes denial of interview to Israel Army Radio reporter (September 5, 2005)

Forumite-11 (From Israel): Conductors: who cares?: conductors often get light-headed, swell-headed, and abusive from being too long in the spotlight. Who cares what Barenboim’s take on politics is, anyway? Deny him a stage, deny him newspaper access–and he’s gone. Ban Barenboim.

Forumite-12 (From Israel): Insensitive? He’s insensitive!


I seem to just love Israel. What a funny comment from this holy country? <—– “Conductors: who cares?: conductors often get light-headed, swell-headed, and abusive from being too long in the spotlight. Who cares what Barenboim’s take on politics is, anyway? Deny him a stage, deny him newspaper access–and he’s gone. Ban Barenboim.”

While reading those opinions, I became curious about the favorite music of Forumite-2 from USA. Why?

“(December 18, 2003) I think you are avoiding the implications of many parts of the Koran. It is unfortunate that the Koran was not written with Muhammad’s own hand (left-handedness was probably the reason). The number of persons involved in putting the Koran together over a long period of time cannot be known. The most violent translations are unfortunately the most reliable ones. It is not necessary to be fluent in a language in order to assess a translation. It is the least literal..the poetic translations of the Koran that are the least reliable. These serve to obscure the hatefulness lurking there. It would have been better for the Koran to be limited to the descriptions of Muhammad’s ‘visions’.. which are pretty interesting. Unfortunately.. the book grew to be a monster. It is possible that less harm would be done by Islam if there were no other writings regarding Muhammad. These other writings are used when the Koran is difficult to use: to preserve the evil tribal traditions of Muhammad’s times. There is also a big difference between the history of the Catholic church and Jesus alone. (And this extends to the days before Europe had any role to play. It is a much clearer difference than in the case of Islam and Muhammad… [Another Forumite’s answer] – I just meant that the history of the catholic church shows that it was early on more concerned with being a church than with Jesus. Islam, on the other hand, seems to have a very close connection with writings about Muhammad, not just the Koran. It may well be, as you claim, that a lot of lies have been told about Muhammad by people with evil intentions. Which makes it all the more tragic that he did not leave writings that could be separated from the rest.”

Then I was more curious… what about his opinions about Zubin Mehta? For purely musical reason?

Impossible to find.

Things were always like this.

I am real curious.

What if Barenboim’s music sounded real great to their ears?

What if Du Pre were still alive, still great and her political behaviors were exactly same as Barenboim’s? She is the one who would follow elsewhere her husband goes. She is also the one who would want to teach her kids to follow Barenboim’s footsteps. I don’t think she could become a great teacher, though. She is too nice and too one-way-imaginative to be a great teacher.

What if Du Pre were still alive, and her music sounded like Zukerman’s youngest soul-mate, and her political achievements were no different from Barenboim’s? This is in fact the only way she could survive as Barenboim’s wife and ensemble partner.

It would be more fun to read another comments from those Jewish people.

Who am I, by the way?

During my hard working, the Haaretz were intentionally supporting Elena Bashkirova. It was rather the Jerusalem Post, which welcomed the inauguration of Bashkirova Festival with their full heart but was growing their criticism toward this international affair.

According to this intelligent Jewish opinion, I am a vermin of democracy: “I wouldn’t advise Barenboim to fight this establishment with scorn, but rather to try to understand by means of its strange boycott something about the way cultural life in Israel works: mechanisms, newspapers, lack of knowledge, symbols, past, present and total alienation, not alienation out of awareness but rather a denied alienation from what is called culture. One loves Hollywood, another goes to Paris and a third goes to “Amadeus,” but a discussion of music in Jerusalem turns into a scandal. This is the explanation for the frequent scandals surrounding Barenboim. They do not come from “the general public.” His real audience is happy when he comes. How many great musicians agree to come here? Barenboim comes because he takes upon himself the responsibility of an Israeli. Who makes the little, embarrassing riots around him? Politicians and talk-backers on the Internet, the vermin of democracy. (September 29, 2005 from the Haaretz)

This is how I got to realize that Barenboim could never understand the details in my writings or Forumites’ opinions, which I think sound reasonably right.

I promise Barenboim will never understand what I am writing.

Standing on the brink of collapse of the music business, all Barenboim is experiencing now is sold-out concerts and standing ovation.

How could he know the rest of the world, which is happening behind his back?

This was the main difference between Maestro Furtwangler and Maestro Barenboim.

They said Furtwangler was naïve. Menuhin said Furtwangler was not a Nazi. He said so after he heard Furtwangler. I hear Furtwangler. Then I can say that Furtwangler was not naïve. He exactly knew what was happening behind his back… all the happenings. He just wanted to ignore it until a death threat made him flee from his country.

He believed that he could educate his German audience, who could seek solace in his music and could eventually retrieve their spiritual weapons to prepare another future.

Perhaps… Furtwangler was haughty, regarding himself as omnipotent, because I hear everything when I hear Furtwangler.

Furtwangler’s music tells me so, because when he plants trees, he already sees the forest. To be a Nazi, one should be possessed by an inferiority complex. Don’t you think so?

What means this word, naïve?

If its definition is “deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, then Barenboim is naïve.

Barenboim’s music tells me so, because when he plants trees, he never knows how to map out the forest. He even doesn’t have a concept of what kind of forest he is dreaming, just planting all different kinds of trees with a tireless brain jammed with all their names.

Ten years later, the result is not a beautiful forest but a thornbush overgrown with weeds.

Is it naïve, or stupid?

Workaholic can not be an answer.

To be continued…

Sincerely yours,


(Originally written on June 19, 2006)

Dear New York Folks,

This is Jiwon.

I regret.

Last week (June 5-11), I was not enough healthy to follow Voice of America. So I wanted to catch up my work on Sunday morning (June 11). It has been months since I started following this terrific site and I wanted to organize these articles in a more effective way. Everything was fine, except this part; “The Making of a Nation” It was not that easy to follow this American history as much as it sounded interesting. My grade had never been A-plus in the history class during my school days, and suddenly, I was right in the middle of American history: 9 weeks of Woodrow Wilson, 4 weeks of Warren Harding and then Calvin Coolidge, neither of whose name I’ve ever heard before… I was damn curious to trace backward. Then I realized that this story is a kind of cycle, which consists of 233 articles, and it resumed on February 20, 2003. I am now reading “#169. Roaring Twenties (June 8)”. I clicked all the previous articles and organized them. I know it is a stupid work, but I couldn’t help it. I just wanted to finish what I can finish. While clicking all the dates from 2003, I just couldn’t believe myself. So many people were learning so many things everyday while I was merely doing worthless, always the same work. Even my writing skill is still there. No hints of improvement. 64 weeks later, another cycle will start. What would my life be like by then? I am blessed with a cursed life. Whatever I do, I will prove to be a failure. Ha!

I regret now.  Still tired… painful to watch anything in front of my eyes. I barely exercised tonight (June 15). This deadly condition during the daytime, and that weirdly terrible muscular pain in my entire upper body, plus physical headache… Seems like God is hammering all my bones into another shape. Sic! I change my chair again. Feeling… what my present physical condition really needs is a morning exercise. For years, two alarm clocks in the morning have never worked. What’s more… part of my skin suffer an allergy to the spring or summer sunlight. (It was medically proven that my skin is simply too weak to play under the sun, though.) 

Finally, I decide. I like this site of VOA. No matter what, checking its updated articles in the morning makes me concentrate on my day. At the same time, it has put a huge amount of strain on me, who “always” woke up late, late, late. I decide to sleep without an alarm clock. This morning (June 18), I started my morning exercise and scratch my itchy arms the whole day. I need to wake up more early. All the draft are already in my brain. I tried and tried but it is impossible to write anything with this messy brain. I want to watch the World Cup tonight. (Can I? Already sleepy…)

To be continued…

Sincerely yours,


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