Isle of the Dead

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Friday, June 03, 2011


The New York Philharmonic plays "Isle of the Dead" at Lincoln Center next week. The Rachmaninoff piece was inspired by one of the most compelling visual images ever created. WNYC's Sara Fishko has more, in this edition of Fishko Files.

This version of Isle of the Dead, painted in 1880, is located on the 2nd floor of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Galleries for the 19th- and Early 20th-Century European Paintings and Sculpture.


Arnold Böcklin painted five variations of Isle of the Dead. To see all five versions of the painting check out the slideshow, below.




More information about the people featured in this edition of the Fishko Files...

  • Sabine Rewald is the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Curator in the Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Steven Heller is the co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author Department at The School of Visual Arts and writes the Visuals column for The New York Times Book Review. For more from Heller, visit his website.
  • Diane Fremont is a Jungian analyst in private practice in New York City and author of the essay "The Visible and the Invisible in Art: The secret space of the image."


Music in this edition of the Fishko Files

  • Sergei Rachhmaninoff, "Isle of the Dead," Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting; Decca 4307332.


WNYC Production Credits

Mix Engineer: Wayne Shulmister

Assistant Producer: Laura Mayer

WNYC Newsroom Editor: Karen Frillmann

Produced by:

Sara Fishko
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Comments [2]

Jerry Miller from Pittsfield, MA

I was surfing the net and took a look at WNYC and couldn't resist checking out your "Isle of the Dead" piece. Loved it.The first recording I owned was a 45 RPM (!) album by Koussevitsky and the BSO. Now I must own half a dozen or so CDs of the piece. I hope life and WNYC are treating you well. No complaints at this end.

Jun. 26 2011 04:01 PM
Kenneth Furie from New York

A really informative, atmospheric backgrounder on "Isle of the Dead," Sara -- wonderfully complemented in the Web version by the slide show of all five "Isle of the Dead" paintings. I'll bet most people who listen to this report will be eager to hear the whole piece.

Jun. 03 2011 03:36 PM

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