La musica è un tutto by Daniel Barenboim

Daniel Barenboim has published his latest book, La musica è un tutto: Etica ed estetica (Music as a Whole: Ethics and Aesthetics), reflections on making, reading, playing and listening to music: music that connects people, establishes relationships and fills them with meaning. For Barenboim, music is a continuous dialogue between ethics and aesthetics – a dialogue that works on different levels. If counterpoint – the ongoing interplay of one melodic line with its opposite – is the essence of music, we see here that the obsession that dominates the maestro’s work is the idea of music as a whole, which does not break down into constituent elements.

Performing a piece well implies making a series of choices, and in this is it is no different, Barenboim says, from what a politician has to do: to make the right choices. And in performance, making the right choices means making beautiful music. But making great music is a balancing act that involves many different factors: from composer and score, to a deep-rooted understanding between the performers, to the audience and the concert halls, to those that govern the concert halls, to those that govern tout court.

For beauty to be found in music, it must be understood, made a part of one’s life and of society in general. Barenboim says: “Understanding music in philosophical terms is no less essential than the philosophical understanding of human nature.” Understanding music also means creating the conditions necessary for it to become a part of family life, together with finding an important space for it in schools – both ideals that have shaped Barenboim’s work over the years.

Purchase the book here.