Thursday, July 21, 2011

Time-travelling with Gil Shaham

A hearty thanks to the Aspen Festival of Ideas for sending me a link to this fascinating discussion about "iconic" works of the 1930s. Last year I interviewed Gil about his project surveying the great violin concertos of those times: it was extraordinary to realise that a dizzying number of the 20th-century pieces in the genre that can justifiably be called "iconic" were written during one eight-year timespan from 1931 to 1939, among them some by Walton, Barber, Bartok's Second, Berg, Britten, Szymanowski, Schoenberg and more.

Now a note from Aspen tells me I got "name-checked"... It is very sweet of Gil to credit me for switching him on to the term "iconic", which has provided the central tenet of this discussion. I can't help wishing I'd found a more original expression, but I'm glad it proved appropriate and came in handy.

The discussion is about an hour long and if you are fascinated, as I am, by the culture, atmosphere, style and general zeitgeist of the Thirties (if there was such a thing), and how these relate to our own times, it is very well worth a listen.