Yesterday, in Berlin, Daniel Barenboim and Universal launched their new download-only label dedicated to Barenboim’s art as conductor, piano soloist, chamber musician and accompanist. The label is called Peral, Spanish for pear tree (‘Barenboim’ is Yiddish for ‘Birnbaum’, the German for pear tree). The label’s logo has been designed by the architect Frank Gehry, a friend of Barenboim who is building a new concert-hall and rehearsal building for Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Berlin.
The first release comprises live performances of Bruckner’s first three symphonies recorded with the Staatskapelle Berlin, the orchestra of the Staatsoper where Barenboim is Music Director. This is the start of Barenboim’s third cycle of the Bruckner symphonies (the previous two were with the Chicago Symphony for DG and the Berlin Philharmonic for Teldec). Barenboim believes the orchestra with its absorption in operatic music brings a singing line to the music which he has been seeking.
Commenting on the new initiative Barenboim commented that ‘for the first time in civilisation you can be a highly intelligent and highly cultured person and have no contact whatsoever with music. You can know a lot about literature, philosophy, painting, architecture and music plays no role in it. This is one of the philosophical reasons why there is such difficulty with the recorded music scene. I didn’t want to accept such a negative verdict and therefore I wanted to find a way to start something that might get through to the younger generation who are completely at home in the digital world.’
Future releases will find Barenboim the pianist in a programme of studies written for young piano students. ‘I would like to record the little pieces that every child who studies the piano learns - Diabelli, Burgmüller, Clementi – and they never hear them properly played,’ said Barenboim. ‘They have difficulties with it, the teacher tells them “Don’t hurry here. Don’t drag there. This is too loud. This is too soft” but they never actually hear the piece properly played. And I would like to have a kind of educational department, if you want, on this label.’
Currently, the first Peral release is available only through iTunes as a Mastered for iTunes download.