We asked Margaret Atwood, esteemed Canadian author & poet, a few questions in advance of her Art of Time Ensemble debut in The Poem/The Song.
What are some of your favourite settings of verse, and why?
I am very bad at answering "favourite" anything. But Schubert's Leider have to be up at the top. I am, however, very fond of Beethoven's setting to the Scottish song Faithfu' Johnie, especially the version as sung by Dame Janet Baker, possibly because my birthday is in November, month of returning spirits.
Is music a source of inspiration for your writing? If so, can you give us an example?
Human beings are inherently musical. Bone flutes have been discovered dating back 40,000 years, already perfected (and in the key of E), meaning they'd been in existence long before that. Music activates all areas of the brain, musical training improves performance in school children, and has now been found to increase empathy and improve focus in those suffering from dementias. The features of music (rhythm, syncopation, variation) apply to all art.
So, "inspirational"? How could it not be?