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Hot Tune Cold War

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Three Steaming Concerts

War causes suffering throughout the world, and of course we would all be better off if everyone could just learn to get along, but there is also no denying that conflict has resulted in some positive things. It has paved the way for new technology, brought about medical advances, and sparked our creative juices. The controversial nature of war and politics makes people want to speak out, let their opinions be known, and to express themselves.

In a three-part concert series, the City of London Sinfonia are exploring the way politics and the Cold War inspired a music rebellion. The world might have been kept captive by espionage, terror threats, and austerity, but that only inspired musicians to shout a little louder. Jazz and swing brought life back to dying nations, and gave sparks of hope for a better future.

Investigating jazz culture from its origins in the 1920s up to the Cold War era, the City of London Sinfonia will be performing at three venues across London. The first concert will be held at the Soubthbank Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the 27th September at 7.30pm. Tickets to Music From Across The Iron Curtain are between 10-28, and includes the work of Benjamin Britten, Aaron Copland, and Dmitry Shostakovich. Britten and Copland's clarinet concertos were written for Benny Goodman, an American swing king. Britten's composition, however, was seized by the US after he was spied upon by the FBI; the concerto therefore had to be finished off by Colin Matthews. Shostakovitch's Fourteenth Symphony, on the other hand, was a response to the invasion of Czechoslovakia, and filled with images of death.

The second concert is accompanied by a film screening of the black and white silent movie, They New Babylon (1929). Tickets are 15 and they will be playing Dimitri Shostakovich's original film score at the Village Underground on the 23rd October at 7.30pm. It is set in the 1871 Paris Commune, and Shostakovich was lucky enough to compose the score before Stalin censored the jazz genre.

Finally, Jazz Kings will be performed at the Cadogan Hall on the 31st October. The concert starts at 7.30pm, with tickets costing between 12-32. They will be playing music by some of the biggest jazz names of the 1930s and 1940s; these include Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera and Shostakovich's Jazz Suite No. 1.
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Why? Fun for music lovers
When: 27th Sept - 31st Aug
Phone: 020 7621 2800
Where: South bank Centre, Village Underground, Cadogan Hall
Cost: 10-32
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