Asher Fisch Says Barenboim Was Wrong In Breaking Israel's Wagner Boycott

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 | 5:21:00 pm

In a revealing article in Limelight Magazine, Asher Fisch discusses both Wagner and the time that he (Fisch), spent with Barenboim in some detail. "Daniel taught me everything I know" he says. However, he suggests, that although he has never told him, he feels that the manner in which Barenboim  broke the boycott of Wagner's music in Israel, as an encore in 2001, was a mistake and may have caused more harm than he could have imagined.

This is not because Fisch believes that Wagner should not be played in Israel, far from it, as he wishes to do so himself one day. However, Fisch says, "Daniel made a huge mistake in my opinion when he tried to break the ban with a German orchestra. I was there and it was excruciating. It was really difficult to see an orchestra being driven into this situation. He was going to play the Tristan Prelude as an encore, and when he rehearsed it the cor anglais player played a wrong note on the Tristan chord. He stood up and said: “this is my way to protest you trying to make us play Wagner in Israel”. And he was absolutely right. In the evening, when Daniel started to talk to the audience, the orchestra was sitting there and all they could hear is, “whisper, whisper... Nazi... whisper whisper... Hitler...” – can you imagine what they were going through? It was simply a mistake. He concludes, "I never told him this but I think he made it go backwards a little bit. He made the controversy more political than it was before. I think had he not done this in 2001 we would have had better chances. But the ban went in the wrong direction for the wrong reasons"

Read the full article by clicking here