When playing music, it is possible to achieve a unique state of peace, partly due to the fact that one can control, through sound, the relationship between life and death. Since every note produced by a human being has a human quality, there is a feeling of death with the end of each one, and through that experience there is a transcendence of all the emotions that these notes can have in their short lives; in a way, one is in direct contact with timelessness.
A musical whirling dervish
Today's NYTimes checks in with the peripatetic Daniel Barenboim. Barenboim has been performing since he was six, and is an (hyper) active orchestral and opera conductor, solo pianist, accompanist, and chamber musician—often on the same day. He also works hard to promote understanding, musically and otherwise, between Israel and Palestine. In the Times piece, he deplores the specialization of musicians today. Easy for him to say. And he's a writer. In his new book of essays, Barenboim reflects: