My Opinion: DB’s Wagner in Israel, Berlin

Dear New York Folks,

This is Jiwon.

No Answer… By now, you should know me. That I care nothing, I feel nothing, and nothing will change my further writing. In America, I looked at my face in the mirror every morning to check if I became really insane. I now start checking my face in the mirror every night to be sure where I think I belong.

I remember to read Barenboim months ago. Somehow, I failed to save the entire stuff. I read it, anyway: “When you love somebody and they die young and you are young, too, it is very hard. It changed me as a person. It is part of my past that goes through with me to the present.”

I envy this mortal who still has a memory of love in his brain, for this word was never mine. I even didn’t experience the adolescent mental unbalance, (or problems syndrome,) during my teenage days, proving the best example of exemplary student. For a while, I really wanted to have this word, but I no more need it now, for man never exists in my heart as a symbol of love. I even don’t remember who was my friend while young. “What changed me as a person, what is part of my past that goes through with me to the present” is my memory of three; the way how my late Korean teacher treated me since his son picked up his instrument, the way how my senior Korean professor insulted my personality in front of my mother, and the way how Dale Clevenger greeted me when I was driving for 15 hours to beg for another female teacher, who was capable of teaching me. His smile was simple. “Time will solve everything.”

Has time solved anything? It only made my dirty memories more vivid. His discussing my defective personality with my mother has practically ruled my family life since then. Since then, his choice was my enemies and their relationship had helped his professional career. Had this Korean professor blamed my no-talent and incapability to earn American diploma, I would have accepted his words long time ago when I gave up my life. Hadn’t Clevenger talked with such a fucking smirk to answer my begging, I would have let time erase all those memories.

“When you love somebody and they die young and you are young, too, it is very hard. It changed me as a person. It is part of my past that goes through with me to the present.”

Barenboim himself says that something’s changed him, then who is real Daniel Barenboim?Since my Furtwangler paper in 1996(?), I’ve followed this and that Barenboim. Who could believe it when even I don’t know how to believe it? Barenboim was always same. Having always been someone’s toy since his mother’s death.

Even though people can only find Barenboim’s official couple images with du Pre from, there are several of Barenboim’s private photos with Bashkirovaif you carefully dive into the Internet Ocean; from the couple in Sorat Hotel in Berlin to the couple in a dress room of the CSO during their tour. Which Barenboim has a real smile, a real happiness on his face? If Daniel du Pre’s happy face contains a mark of respect as a musician, the thought of enjoying his life as a man fills Daniel Bashkirova with bliss. His only problem was music or fame or even Barenboim himself looks dirty. (Fame will be more accurate word…) 

Now, I think it’s time to make Barenboim be honest about his life, if Barenboim himself still has no idea about who he is. All I need is money. I want to finish my request to Barenboim first. Then my unfinished part, and then my last one, about you and America. I was all alone for the past three days, and this is what I did. Slowly, slowly, I am going toward the end…

On what makes a great musician:

On Jerusalem:

On Palestinian kids who are scared of Israeli soldiers:

On Elena Bashkirova:

On Divans:

On the administrative side of music:

On Barenboim playing Wagner in Israel:

I think. “Barenboim and his Audience” played and listened to this music after spending hours of debate. Politicians seem to rather welcome Barenboim-scandal to fetch the public. Why should Barenboim apologize to the politicians? This is a matter between Barenboim and his people, part of whom welcome his encore and part of whom can never accept it even after they die, no matter where they are.

What if Barenboim understands Holocaust musicians, who still cannot pick up their instruments after playing Wagner to prepare or to celebrate their neighbors’ death? Who played Wagner at the concentration camp? I saw a docu-film, in which they testified that orchestra musicians were better fed and they were still feeling guilty of selling their soul and playing music for survival. If the well-nourished musicians feel like this, what about the starving inmates and their incurable trauma? For them, Wagner is a symbol of Nazi, and symbolism is usually more powerful than music itself. When one doesn’t need music of Wagner even during his hot moments to entertain or in his serious mood to submerge, how can he understands that musicians need Wagner to complete their art? If Barenboim really understands their wound, he will make a sincere apology, trying to console his people. If not, he should think of his supporters only. Not every musician is born ultra-sensitive, so who could blame his decision?

However, I still think that Barenboim owes an apology to the person, Yossi Talgan,  who was in charge of Israel Festival. It was a promise between the two CEOs, which was finally made after experiencing months-long national debate, and Barenboim broke it. If I were in his shoes, I would have wanted to kill this sonavabitch. Funny that the festival director is now a director general of the JSO. Once Barenboim takes his responsibility, this Jewish guy will prove his personality. Curious… If I can’t accept Barenboim’s Wagner performance in Israel, my reason is purely based on this part.

On Wagner in Israel:

I keep wondering why no one is raising a question about “Wagner in Israel” some time later when the last Holocaust survivor vanishes from politicians’ sight. I only know that Zubin Mehta was quick to interview that Israel was not ready for Wagner, when his Jewish brother was busy at defending his decision and leaning against his supporters.

I believe. Sooner or later, more and more Israelis will claim their rights to enjoy Wagner, yet no survivor will be able to show his wounded scar during the live performance. If no Jewish descendants remember Wagner as Nazi’s symbol, who will do? Do Holocaust Memorial Museums have a section of “Wagner in Israel”? How can they explain the power of music, the power of Nazi without its live performance? If they remember nothing after the last victim’s death, there will be another Nazi, another Wagner, and another victim anytime, and anywhere.

Why don’t they legally prevent a further disaster? It’s not a bad idea to travel a foreign country, where a specific music is banned for historical reason. By then, the Palestinian Orchestra could earn more money by placing Wagner in their main repertoire. Their Wagner will teach even the Jewish ticket buyers that Nazi revives nowhere but in the face of the Israeli soldiers.

Or why don’t they make a special law to treat their audience, who can’t afford to go to the Bayreuth? As foreign concertgoers, it won’t be bad, either, to be forced to study the real case of power of music, the Holocaust survivors’ reaction to Wagner, before they enjoy Jewish musicians performing the Nazi’s symbol. One can learn more things in a concert hall than in a Holocaust Museum. Watching the Holocaust musicians’ docu-film was a revelation to me, a real shock as well, who used to think that the German soldiers played Wagner at the camp or they used the radios to slaughter their Jewish pigs. I thought that our human beings should get over such a thing, and I could make those victims cure their broken hearts by using a mental therapy called “Music of Wagner” until I watched the Holocaust musicians’ interview and their real life after the war.

Perhaps, Wagner performance in Israel won’t be possible during the lifetime of Holocaust survivors. Whether or not is not an important issue, IMHO. The debate, however, should start now and come up with a certain solution before the last victim dies. How can we restore all those physical and mental evidences when there is no survivor left?

On Berlin:

Hadn’t Herr Klaus Wowereit heard the European survey some time ago, in which the BPO was below something-London, (LPO or LSO?), and Barenboim’s Staatskapelle failed to enter their favorite top-ten? This article appeared in a Korean newspaper. I didn’t know that there were those who thought like this. While Barenboim seems to believe that Berlin is a heaven of classical music, I admit the quantity of Berlin music. Therefore, the entire city sounds dead. Why doesn’t the Berlin mayor concentrate on the quality of Berlin music first, instead of wasting the whole night with genius thoughts about how to hire Barenboim as a cheap handyman or how to donate his father’s money to too many musicians? His instructing Berlin critics to put Furtwangler icing on Barenboim’s fame was the funniest idea. Their boosting Bashkirova Stock in Jerusalem market was the most genius idea, though. How can the Jewish monkeys follow his German brain? His only mistake was that all Bashkirova’s Jerusalem musicians prefer to live in Berlin.

On the problems facing musical education in America:

This is not the right time to show my final draft…

To be continued…

Sincerely yours,


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