Most reviewed: Everything is Connected

<p>The most reviewed title last weekend was <em>Everything is Connected</em> by Daniel Barenboim (Weidenfeld), the virtuoso pianist and conductor who became an arbiter of peace in the Middle East by co-founding the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, bringing together Israeli and Palestinian musicians. Critics were divided however on Barenboim as a writer.</p><p>Andrew Clark in the <em>Financial Times </em>sums up Barenboim&#39;s manifesto: &quot;Barenboim believes the instruments of an orchestra, like the keys of a piano, are a template for the way conflicting voices in the world can be harmonised.&rdquo; He adds: &ldquo;few writers have summed up as concisely or intelligently the fundamentals of classical music&mdash;the interdependence of harmony, rhythm, volume and speed&mdash;or applied them so persuasively to the most intractable political issue of the postmodern world.&quot;</p><p>The <em>Sunday Times</em>&#39; Bryan Appleyard writes that &quot;[Barenboim] describes brilliantly the way music works and the way in which its intricacies and logic justify his faith that everything is connected&quot;&mdash;however he suggests that &quot;his cultural history can be a bit dodgy . . . and the political-musical parallels are pretty stretched&quot;.</p><p>Ed Smith, writing in the <em>Sunday Telegraph</em> agrees, finding that &quot;the further Barenboim strays from music, the less secure his writing becomes&rdquo; and that &quot;[he] has a penchant for aphoristic expressions that hover between the profound and the obvious&quot;. Susan Tomes in the <em>Guardian </em>admits that &quot;some of the chapters are insubstantial or repetitive&quot; but that the book is a &quot;rare opportunity to hear how a master musician thinks&quot;. She quotes Barenboim to summarise: &quot;&#39;I am not a political person . . . humanity has always concerned me. In that sense I feel able and, as an artist, especially qualified to analyse the situation.&#39;&quot;</p>