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Irving Finkel

Michael Berkeley is joined by assyriologist Irving Finkel. His musical choices include string quartets by Schubert and Dvorak, 1930s blues and Jimi Hendrix.

Assyriologist Irving Finkel talks to Michael Berkeley about his passion for clay tablets, chamber music, and Jimi Hendrix.

Irving Finkel is one of the world's leading experts in the world's oldest, and most impenetrable, system of writing - cuneiform.

Because the scribes of Ancient Mesopotamia imprinted cuneiform with a stylus into clay tablets, lots of it has survived, and indeed Irving Finkel has spent the past 45 years delighting in the company of more than 130,000 cuneiform tablets at the British Museum. But one day a member of the public brought in a clay tablet which changed his life - it was a 4000-year-old blueprint for Noah's Ark - a thousand years older than the story in the Bible.

Irving is also passionate about music - particularly old recordings - and his choices include string quartets by Schubert and Dvorak, 1930s blues and a blast of Jimi Hendrix.

Producer: Jane Greenwood.

1 hour

Last on

Sun 5 Jul 2015 12:00

Music Played

  • Ana Isabel Luna Moreno

    Babylonian Lullaby/Babylonian Harp

  • Franz Schubert

    Quartettsatz in C minor, D703

    Ensemble: Amadeus Quartet.
  • Alain Romans

    Quel temps fait-il a Paris

    Ensemble: Soundtrack.
  • Skip James

    Devil got my woman

  • Arnold Schoenberg

    Verklarte Nacht (opening)

    Performer: Kurt Reher. Performer: Alvin Dinkin. Ensemble: The Hollywood String Quartet.
  • Django Reinhardt

    Swing 42

    Performer: Stéphane Grappelli. Ensemble: Quintette du Hot Club de France.
  • Jacques Offenbach

    Tu n'es pas beau, tu n'es pas riche (La Perichole)

    Singer: Maggie Teyte. Conductor: Hyam Greenbaum.
  • Antonín Dvořák

    String quartet in F major, Op.96 (American)(1st mvt: Allegro ma non troppo)

    Ensemble: Bohemian.
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience

    Hey Joe

Cuneiform tablets

Cuneiform tablets
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