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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: Carmina Burana

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Carmina Burana

Last night (Saturday) Christine and I went to see our youngest daughter take part in a performance of Carmina Burana by Carl Orff (pictured). The school choir, along with a couple of other local schools, were invited by the Thanet Festival Choir.
I remember singing the "O Fortuna" myself at my school choir. Just shows how school performances of this sort of music can stick in your mind. First time I heard it, our music teacher informed us about the words (Burana Codex) being a commentary on alleged disgusting debauchery of Barvarian monks. (more info at this link.) Well.... as school boys, that certainly got our attention as we imagined what the words meant. I can see my music teacher now, smirking at his clever teaching method.
Anyhow..... I digress....

Last night was the first time I've heard a performance of the whole (for the want of better words) musical composition set to poetry. Much more than the popular extracts of "O Fortuna", "In Trutina" (Soprano solo) and "Ave Formoissima". The whole performance was 1 hr 20 mins of heavy "operatic" music. Now, considering the majority of the audience were parents of 10 yr children, I could see that for a fair few, this was a real culture shock. Seeing the conductor waving frantically at them to stop applauding after the first to sections (made up of 25!) was quite amusing, as were his frowns at rustling sweet papers and occasional little cries from toddlers in the audience. The music is full of drama and passion, this demonstrated by the fiendishly difficult solo's sung by Baritone, Tenor and Soprano. For some, this was too much. From my viewpoint in the balcony, I could see some folk stifling giggles at the particularly high notes achieved by all 3 soloists and very good those obvious operatic professionals they were.

Overall I enjoyed the evening, however, the music has so much passion and drama that needs a very good choir indeed to fully achieve the level of volume required to make the hair raise on the back of your neck. That was my only slight disappointment.

Going completely off at a tangent, I had a real surprise that evening. Those of you that have followed by blogs in the last 2 years may remember when I wrote about my childhood friend Paul. LINK TO THAT BLOG HERE Well...... just before the performance, I spotted a smartly dressed elderly gentleman whom I realized was Paul's father Michael. I'd not seen him in almost 20 years. Needless to say it was wonderful to meet him again and introduce him to my wife. That was a very special moment indeed.

Here's a very good video a performance of "O Fortuna". Here, the drama really is achieved.


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