November 06, 2004
Barenboim looking strange

Barenboim2.jpgThese photos of Daniel Barenboim at the temporary until-it's-redone-properly Warner Classics website, especially the three colour ones, are very strange. They make him look not like the quite old gent that he now is, but rather as if he had been made up to look old about thirty years ago, and photoed then. I think it's the fact that they forgot to grey the eyebrows and eyelashes. Maybe he dies his eyebrows and eyelashes black so that he can influence orchestral musicians just by moving his eyebrows and eyelashes up and down, but I doubt this. More probably he is of a physical type whose eyebrows and eyelashes are the last of his hair to turn grey. All the same, it looks odd to me.

Maybe there's been photoshopping, in particular beefing up the colour contrast, and this has had the effect of making him look unreal.

I'm not trying to undermine Barenboim's status as a musician, which is very high and deservedly so. Several decades ago I saw him conduct in London, Mozart mainly, including piano concertos from the keyboard, but especially the late Mozart symphonies. Something about the way he conducted, something about the kind of sound he seemed to want from an orchestra - long legato paragraphs and sonoroties, elbows and armpits as well as just hands, made me think even then that he should in due course be Georg Solti's successor in Chicago, which he later was, and that he would (like Solti) one day make a notable Wagner conductor, which he now is. Even in Israel.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 08:38 PM
Category: Classical musicPhotography