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Cleveland Orchestra’s Beethoven and Shostakovich Festival Explores Themes of Freedom and Resistance

By Louise Burton on Sep 20, 2013 04:53 PM EDT

A classical music festival organized around the themes of personal and societal freedom?

Seems particularly apt in a time when members of the punk band Pussy Riot are imprisoned in Russia for political protest.

The Cleveland Orchestra will present "Fate and Freedom: Music of Beethoven and Shostakovich" on October 22-26. The festival explores themes of freedom in film, literature, and above all, in the life and music of these two composers.

"Beethoven and Shostakovich were very political composers," said music director Franz Welser-Möst. "Their music was written to express the feeling of the times they lived in--there were new feelings about how to live. Beethoven's Third Symphony was the first big musical and philosophical statement by a composer about what freedom can mean, both individually and collectively."

The orchestra will present three concerts at Severance Hall on October 24-26 that pair a symphony of Beethoven with a symphony of Shostakovich.

"By listening to the music of Beethoven and Shostakovich in juxtaposition, we experience their ideas of freedom from different eras, yet from today's perspective," Welser-Möst said. He will say more about the program pairings in a special festival preview.

The festival opens with a screening of Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque on October 22. The film prominently features music from Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.

And the Cleveland Museum of Art will present The New Babylon on October 23, a 1929 silent film featuring Shostakovich's first film score. The film presents the clash of social classes during the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. Time Out London says the film "is filled with jazz and cabaret inspired music and shows Shostakovich at his most wild and satirical."

The Cleveland Orchestra is hosting this festival in partnership with the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque. Visit the Cleveland Orchestra's website for more information and tickets to festival events.

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TagsCleveland Orchestra, Beethoven, Shostakovich, Severance Hall, Franz Welser-Möst, A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick, The New Babylon, Time Out, Pussy Riot

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