Prometheus

From the Archives The Prometheus Project

In May of 2018, The Cleveland Orchestra's Centennial Season culminated in The Prometheus Festival, which brought together discussions around modern, everyday heroes with Beethoven’s musical genius. The essays, archival media, and conversations that ensued are now available here for you to revisit.

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  •   The Cleveland Orchestra gratefully acknowledges generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts in support of this project.

Introduction

As part of the Centennial Season’s celebration, Music Director Franz Welser-Möst created “The Prometheus Festival,” examining Beethoven’s music through the metaphor of Prometheus, a daring Titan who defied Zeus to bestow on humanity the gift of fire. For Beethoven, this represented the beginning of human civilization, the spark of creativity that has powered the imagination of generations, the warmth of justice and goodness, and the fight for individual rights and freedoms.

In support of this project, The Cleveland Orchestra Archives is pleased to offer a series of online essays designed to enrich the concert experience and to provide in-depth historical information for anyone interested in the Orchestra’s performance history and its archival audio recordings of Beethoven repertoire. Many of the essays include links to the Orchestra’s rich audio legacy to the Prometheus cycle.

Program Book

Revisit the printed program book from "The Prometheus Festival" (May 10-19, 2018) for information about the concert programs, as well as letters from Franz Welser-Möst and President & CEO André Gremillet.

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Panel Discussion

On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, an in-depth discussion was presented with Franz Welser-Möst and Mark Evan Bonds in conversation with Francesa Brittan about The Prometheus Project. This discussion was broadcast live and can be viewed here:

Essay & Audio Library

Beethoven: The Prometheus Connection

In 1812, Ludwig van Beethoven received a letter from a young pianist named Emilie M. Her letter, enclosed with a home-made embroidered pocketbook, expressed her fondness for, and appreciation of, his music.

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Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus

Perhaps the most overt example of Beethoven’s interaction with the idea of Prometheus was his only published ballet, The Creatures of Prometheus.

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Symphony No. 1

In the mainstream history of Beethoven, his early works are more classical in style, hewing close to Mozart and (especially) Haydn.

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Symphony No. 3

Beethoven’s Third Symphony, the Eroica, or “Heroic,” is one of the most influential pieces of music in history.

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Egmont Overture

Beethoven’s Egmont Overture is one of his many concert overtures depicting different kinds of heroic individuals.

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Symphony No. 4

Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony seems an anomaly compared to the heroic Third and the fateful Fifth.

Coming Soon

More essays & media returning throughout the summer

Leading up the Orchestra's performance of Beethoven's Ninth at this summer's Blossom Music Festival on Sunday, August 7, additional entries to The Prometheus Project archives will continue to return online. Check back soon for more!

Preview Aug 7 Concert