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by Mike Telin
On Sunday, November 29, the Cleveland Orchestra presented the first of three events in its new ‘Musically Speaking’ series, an initiative designed to bring Severance Hall audiences closer to the music and the musicians.
The afternoons begin with a 40-minute chamber music concert in Reinberger Hall, followed by a 3:00 multimedia exploration of the orchestral work of the day (this afternoon, Dvorak’s ‘New World’ Symphony) using a narrator, actors, projected visuals and live excerpts played by the orchestra. After intermission, the work is played in its entirety, followed by a question and answer period.
The central format of the first two ‘Musically Speaking’ events derives from the Chicago Symphony’s ‘Beyond the Score’ series, which, as in this case, is franchised to other orchestral organizations. I experienced the CSO’s version of the Dvorak afternoon at the League of American Orchestras conference in Chicago last summer, so it was interesting to be able to compare the two throughout the afternoon.