Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society
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Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  146 ratings  ·  13 reviews
These free-wheeling, often exhilarating dialogues—which grew out of the acclaimed Carnegie Hall Talks—are an exchange between two of the most prominent figures in contemporary culture: Daniel Barenboim, internationally renowned conductor and pianist, and Edward W. Said, eminent literary critic and impassioned commentator on the Middle East. Barenboim is an Argentinian-Isra...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published March 9th 2004 by Vintage (first published October 1st 2002)
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I picked this up because I've long admired Edward Said and didn't realize he had interest or expertise in music. But perhaps I'm not enough of a musician to appreciate the details--it seemed a rather self-indulgent and meandering series of conversations esp since they weren't presented in chronological order. The discussions of music making were abstract and almost mystical rather than describing the practical details of performing and interpreting music I would expect from a soloist and conduct...more
Lynn Wilson
A wonderful book about cultural differences, "home" and the healing power of music to bring all of us together. A dialogue between two men with great minds.
Rana Aref
Awesome dialogues between two of the world's most remarkable people. The translated version in Arabic was not so good, though. Planning to re-read it in English once I find it.
A collection of deeply thoughtful, provocative conversations between Barenboim and Said. I suspect I will be returning to this now and then for years to come.
Patrick Johns
I found this easier to read than Music Quickens Time (essays by Barenboim). Although in this one I found the Daniel Barenboim sections more interesting than those by Edward Said - maybe because DB has a deeper understanding and wider experience of music than ES.

Reading DB's thoughts, ideas, and exeperiences on conducting Wagner at Bayreuth, Beethoven Symphonies, and German Orchestras was fascinating. I was particularly interested that he singles out the Staatskapelle Berlin as a special orchest...more
***Finally finished the book!! Was a wonderful read. Definitely worth the work to get through it, but it also was so intellectually stimulating that I feel like I am still on a learning "high", two days after finishing it. It is a fascinating read and I highly recommend it for anyone that wants to see the parallels and paradoxes between music, society, religion, and culture.***

**UPDATE** - Putting this book back on my Currently Reading List, because I have recently picked it back up again, and i...more
I loved reading (I want to say listening b/c it felt like listening) to the conversations between these 2 guys. They are so interestingly matched in their perspectives: one guy is a writer and thinks about things in terms of literature; one guy is a musician/composer and thinks about things in terms of music; one guy is an Israeli Jew and the other is a Palestinian. And they talk about this broad range of topics that are just humanly interesting: parallels between the different arts, the role of...more
Definitely worth reading if you are a fan of classical music or literary criticism (I am more of the former). Though due to limitation of the format (an unchronological juxtaposition of six dialogues), I feel that a lot of ideas and motives could have been developed further and more systematically. Particularly interesting is the "parallels and paradoxes" between the two participants of the dialogues. EWS provided a more abstract and academic perspective and DB echoed, and in a lot of cases, dis...more
Barenboim brings a lot more than Said to these conversations. B has a lot of fascinating things to say about music, although one has to endure many self-aggrandizing anecdotes.

Said, however, comes off as neurotically obsequious, and seems to be exhibiting pressure of speech; for a cultural critic of his stature his meandering contributions are surprisingly shallow when they aren't nonsensical: e.g. apparently forgetting the existence of the theater, Said pronounces that "There is no real equival...more
I loved this book. Edward Said's brilliance compared with Barenboim's experience lead to a book full of fresh philosophical, musical, and idealogical insights into what music is, isn't, and what makes it the powerful phenomenon that moves us. I have been involved with music for sixteen years now, and reading this book brought new insights to my attention and revolutionized the way I saw music in many regards. This book was definitely a worthwhile read, and I plan on returning to it again and aga...more
Their conversations show clearly how much more brilliant, interesting and modest the classical musician is than the intellectual. I feel sorry for my profession now...
If you care how i felt about this amazing book, my review is here:
la constitution des musicians avant pratiquer la musique :)
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“Every great work of art has two faces: one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity.” 8 likes
“Music requires a particular type of education which is simply not given to most people. And, as a result, it’s set further apart. It has a special place. People who are familiar with painting and photography and drama and dance, and so on, cannot talk so easily about music. And yet, as Nietzsche writes in The Birth of Tragedy, music is potentially the most accessible art form because, with the Apollonian and the Dionysian coming together, it makes a” 0 likes
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