Carmina Burana (4/17/ 2011)
MUSIC REVIEW: ‘CARMINA BURANA’
Three musical groups team up for Orff work
By Peter Jacobi H-T Reviewer | email@example.com
April 19, 2011, last update: 4/18 @ 10:28 pm
When Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” premiered in 1937, it proved a sensation. The work’s emphasis on rhythm and simple harmonies, on attractive melodies and emotional gusto came as a pleasant surprise. Here was music that caught hold easily, so different from much of the classical music being written at the time.
Orff’s “scenic cantata,” inspired by 13th century poems discovered at a Benedictine monastery in the Bavarian Alps, still has the power to evoke enthusiastic response. It certainly did so Sunday evening in the IU Auditorium when three Bloomington musical institutions — the Bloomington Chamber Singers, Camerata Orchestra and IU Children’s Choir — combined forces to give the piece a rousing, charged, let’s-give-it-all-we-got-and-then-some performance.
Perhaps there was some roughness around the edges, but who could care when what one heard, under the knowing guidance of conductor Gerald Sousa, held such high levels of enthusiasm and ebullience. The poems are all about the fickleness and cruelty of fate, about springtime and desire and boozing and love from both the male and female perspective. The music blatantly echoes literary content. No one on stage seemed to forget that.
The choristers, adult and young, strongly made their vocal case. The Camerata, what with two grand pianos and lots of timpani, underscored the merriment. The soloists, each in a different way, evoked theme deftly. Baritone Samuel Spade had the most to do, warbling, mooning and extolling on various matters, and doing so most effectively. Maria Izzo Walker used her delicate, sky-touching soprano with affecting purity to sing of love courtly and not so. Tenor Anthony Webb brought laughter with a vocally and theatrically unrestrained rendition of a swan being roasted on a spit and “catching sight of gnashing teeth.”
As appetizer, Sousa and the Camerata played the Overture and Scherzo from incidental music Mendelssohn wrote for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The performance was quite lovely but hardly necessary considering the musical stimulation that followed.
Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2011