Gustav Mahler was Jewish though not religious. Yet he was superstitious. When he began composing his ninth symphony, in 1908, he refused to name it by its number. Many of his artistic heroes—Beethoven, Schubert, Bruckner—died before they could finish their ninth symphonies, so Mahler thought he would out-do fate and simply call it by another name. He dubbed it “Das Lied von der Erde,” and its one of his best.
Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs may not always get along, but two young pianists — one a Jew from Tel Aviv, the other an Arab from Nazareth — will be living in harmony next week at Carnegie Hall. Onstage, that is.