Monday, May 22, 2017

Concert: Carmina Burana

This past weekend, I saw the last performance of the season for the National Philharmonic at the Strathmore. The National Philharmonic Chorale was there, too, so there was a mix of classical music with singing. Quite the finale for the season!

The show started with Andreas Makris' Alleluia, followed by Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture (a very recognizable piece if you scroll to about 4:20). But the heart of the show was Carmina Burana, composed by Carl Orff in the mid 1930's. Here are some notes from the program:

"Carmina Burana puts to music a total of 24 poems, some written in Latin and others in a very old form of German, covering a great range of subjects that would have been part of the lyrical repertoire of troubadours and minstrels in the Middle Ages: the fickleness of Fortune; the vagaries of love; drunkenness and ribaldry; gluttony; gambling; the coming and going of seasons; and the ordinary spectacle of life in general...In its final form, it is composed of five sections with a total of 25 movements [which are] subsumed under three larger sections, titled "Spring," "In the Tavern," and "Love."

A lot of percussion instruments are used in the piece, and you can't help but feel strong emotions when listening to such amazing music. There were also soloists singing throughout the performance, so that added another layer of complexity to the work!

The entire thing is over an hour long, so I've broken it down by including lots of short videos as opposed to one really long one. Feel free to skip a few or just watch one or two at a time; it can be rather overwhelming! And none of these videos feature the National Philharmonic or the singers I saw that night, but you'll get the idea.

The first (and last) part of Carmina Burana is titled "Fortune, Empress of the World," which has been used in many movies and is quite popular on its own. Read this article from the Phoenix Chorale to learn more; listen below and you'll instantly recognize it.

Sound familiar?

The next section is called "In Springtime," and it sounds quite different from the first, especially the happy third part!

"One the Lawn" is the next part, with five sub-parts:

This one kind of sounds familiar to me. Do you recognize it?

Make sure to turn up the volume for this one:

Now we go "In the Tavern" ...

 I think this next part is supposed to be funny, even though I don't understand the lyrics! But it's called "Song of the Roast Swan," and the bassoon kind of does sound like a goose...

The final full section is "The Court of Love," and it's the first time we hear from the Soprano. These parts definitely sound romantic!

Turn up the volume for this one, too:

This one also sounds familiar, but maybe because it sounds like an earlier "Springtime" piece?

And here is the last part (along with the first part repeated):

Whew, that is A LOT to take in! It's really beautiful, but I will say it was hard sitting still for so long. Maybe I should just buy a CD... But truly, it's amazing piece, and I hope you like it, too!

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