Inside Culture – S2 #15 (Schubert, LA Gun Violence, Pádraic Fogarty)

This week on Inside Culture Fionn Davenport celebrates the life and work of the Viennese composer Franz Schubert. His music will feature at this years Kilkenny International Arts Festival and Fionn is joined in studio by the artistic director of the festival, Eugene Downes and by Lorraine Byrne Bodley who is a musicologist at Maynooth University.

Schubert Dreaming The Sublime is the title of Kilkenny’s Schubert themed programme and Eugene links the music to some of the artistic movements of the early Romantic period. Schubert composed hundreds of works and these include symphonies, chamber music and song cycles. We hear some of the pieces which will feature at the festival.

Katherine Hunka is the director of the Irish Chamber Orchestra and she introduces us to Schubert’s famous string quartet Death and the Maiden. With her violin in hand she performs the role of Death who seduces the maiden and explains how death’s role should not be played too beautifully. The piece was written after Schubert knew he would die of syphilis, aged 31, and reveals the composer’s complicated relationship with his own mortality.

We travel to Los Angeles to look at an aspect of everyday life there which is far from the Hollywood Dreams we explored a few weeks ago. Gun crime, gang violence and police brutality affect the lives of many Los Angelenos and we hear the harrowing story of Lily Porto’s family. She is an Uber driver and her parents moved from Mexico to offer their children the chance to follow the American dream. Her brother, George, aged 14, was the victim of a drive-by shooting; something which devastates many families in the city. Lily tells us how the struggle to live a normal life with violence all around is constant and how poverty is at the heart of the crime and violence.

Shamell Bell is a dance activist, an academic and one of the original founders of the Black Lives Matters movement which has become one of the most important protest movements in the United States and was set up to combat police profiling of black people. Children playing on the street with fake, plastic toy guns have been shot dead by the police and the Black Lives Matter movement is a new type of activism using art and social media to get its message across. It’s also represents the lives of women and LGBTQ people. Shamell says a new generation of activists are being reared.

Fionn is joined by conservationist Pádraic Fogarty. He is the author of Whittled Away: Ireland’s Vanishing Nature. The book is a forensic and lyrical analysis of Ireland’s relationship with the natural world as he lists 115 species which have disappeared. He looks at a wide variety of natural landscapes and habitats and assesses the damage done in ecological terms and what is being done to counter it.

Broadcast on Monday, 26th June 2017.