Daniel Barenboim’s main influences have been Wilhelm Furtwängler and Benedict de Spinoza, with perhaps an unknowing nod at Robert Musil. Furtwängler wrote his thoughts down in notebooks (1924–54), a mere 200 pages of them. He presumably felt a compulsion. What has prompted Barenboim to write Everything is Connected? I sense no similar compulsion. Much of it is random, and it is sometimes contrived, the title of the book hinting at its occasional banality. But although the book did not demand to be written, it does – strange as it may seem – demand to be read. His wisdom is acute, and his opinions on Israel and Palestine are alone worth the price of admission.
In Parallels and Paradoxes, a book of conversations between Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said during the founding of their Arab-Israeli youth orchestra in 1999, I found Barenboim consistently more illuminating and 'intelligent' than Said. I put the word in inverted commas because Said is an intellectual, and it is this