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The Boston Globe

Music

Music Review

Tan Dun premiere kicks off NEC festival

Music as “truth to power” is a running theme this year in both Boston and Chicago, with the New England Conservatory and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra coincidentally presenting unrelated festivals under the same title. NEC’s is by far the more wide-ranging, with the school’s many departments chiming in with more than 30 concerts spanning works from Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony to Michael Colgrass’s “Winds of Nagual.”

A skeptic might wonder whether a festival sweeping together so much music with varyingly direct links to so many spheres of protest — social, political, cultural, aesthetic — runs the risk of subverting its own intended focus. But plenty of other concertgoers will be simply grateful for the patina of coherence that “Music: Truth to Power” brings to the school’s abundance of concert offerings this season, a handful of them with hard-to-find repertoire, and most of them completely free.

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