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In the complicated universe of friendships, that of Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim holds a special place, and today, listening to the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra at Symphony Hall in Boston, the magnitude of that friendship–its endurance, and generosity–was what stayed after the last notes of Beethoven’s Third symphony brought the concert to a close, after the five standing ovations died down, after the packed hall was slowly emptied of its listeners.

It was an extraordinary afternoon of music making, this  very young orchestra of Arab and Jew, Palestinian and Israeli, in equal numbers, together with a small group of Spanish musicians. (The orchestra is based in Seville, Spain.)  Extraordinary not only for the sound, the electric atmosphere, the passionate conducting, not only for the achievement which the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra represents, but also for what was invisible but full of weight and presence: two human beings who met by accident…

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About Taline Voskeritchian

Writing teacher at Boston University; translator (from Arabic and Armenian); prose writer; occasional editor; incurable wanderer.
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