Music gets macabre at Death: Southbank Centre's Festival for the Living
Friday 27 January 2012
Most people are familiar with Desert Island Discs, the Radio 4 show that invites a guest to choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island. Death: Southbank Centre's Festival for the Living, which begins today in London, puts a whole new spin on the concept. Desert Island Death Discs with Paul Gambaccini will reveal the nation's top funeral music choices, while the BBC Concert Orchestra will explore Music to Die For, a collection of works by composers obsessed by death.
"It's hard to think of a classical musician who wasn't obsessed by death in one way or another," says Keith Lockhart, conductor for the BBC Concert Orchestra, who has included Mozart, Mahler and Verdi on the bill. "I wanted to give a variety of different takes on the theme, so not all the music is funereal or elegiac; it's meant to be thought provoking, but I don't want people to feel too morbid."
Lockhart's sentiments are echoed by Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, who says her aim of the festival is to help take away the sense of taboo that surrounds the subject. "There are very few opportunities to talk about death or work out how we feel about it. I think it will be emotional but also interesting. We've got all sorts happening, from Ghanaian coffins which have been carved into extraordinary things like Michael Jordan's shoe, and Sandi Toksvig giving us her own memorial lecture."
There's also Goodbye Mr Muffin, a puppetry and animated children's show that tells the story of the last days of a much-loved guinea pig; made-to-order poems on death from The Poetry Takeway; a selection of death-related games from social gaming artists Hide & Seek, and talks on everything from the ritual of getting a tattoo in someone's memory to how to plan a funeral.
There's no escaping death.
Death: Southbank Centre's Festival for the Living, Southbank Centre, London, SE1 (www.southbankcentre.co.uk), today to Sunday
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
- 5 Winnie the Pooh banned from Polish playground for being 'inappropriate hermaphrodite'
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
Willow and Jaden Smith talk duality of apples, holographic realities and the melancholia of the ocean in incredible New York Times interview
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'