Incidents and Accidents, Hints and Allegations

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Beethoven for All
dresser, Montano, 2006
This is just amazing, and I want to share it with you all.

Mom's visiting this weekend, and I went looking for some classical music to add to my library. I saw the iTunes store giving front-page attention to new recordings of Beethoven by Daniel Barenboim. Well, thought I, Barenboim's an awesome conductor, let's see...and here's the complete symphonies for $19.99 in high-quality digital form. I listened to some sample tracks, was wowed, and bought. 

That would be good news all by itself. Lots of Beethoven (5.5 hours for the 9 symphonies) at such a great price, and performed so very well. But there's more...

The orchestra he recorded these with is the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Never heard of them. But the program notes explain.

This is an orchestra founded in 1999 by Barenboim and his friend and fellow Beethoven scholar, the late Edward Said. Yes, the Said of Orientalism and so much important scholarship in the humanities. It brings together young musicians from all across the Middle East, to make great music together.


Right now you can get the whole set of symphonies, individual albums with 1-2 each, and a greatest-hits sort of collection of some from the symphonies, some from the piano sonatas, and so on. The Beethoven For All website has links for purchasing. This is a worthy cause offering some most excellent benefits. Check it out!

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I believe that Beethoven's friend Goethe published a late collection of poems titled the West-Östlicher Divan (reflecting the era's widespread image of the "East" as a realm of exoticism, splendor, and sensuality). The orchestra's name could be a reference to that.

That's exactly what it is, in fact.

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