Late Style or A Double Fugue: Beethoven and the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra
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Late Style invites us into the extraordinary friendship between a Palestinian-American scholar and an Israeli conductor and the global orchestra they imagined into being. Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim created the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra to bring together Arab and Israeli musicians. It became an unsettling, humbling, and joyful experiment. This performance piece is an adaptation of Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society (Vintage Press, 2002), a book of conversations between Said and Barenboim on aesthetics and politics. When staged, Late Style is half text and half music—mostly by Beethoven, and the highly-acclaimed Syrian composer Kinan Azmeh.
Late Style follows the form of Beethoven’s late String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op.130 (1825). It has six movements ending with a performance of the Grosse Fuge. Beethoven’s late work is known for its radicality, as “music for a later age.”
Late Style is timely: it speaks about music and late Beethoven, Israel and Palestine, immigration, belonging, the rise of totalitarianism, and the necessity of the arts to find political solutions. Late Style—with all of its music—is beautiful and expresses radical hope in a world that cannot afford to lose it.
The music is performed live by a quartet from the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.