“CARMINA BURANA” AND “FIREBIRD” CREATE NIGHT OF MAGIC
That’s the only word that came out of my mouth at the end of the hourlong performance of “Carmina Burana” by the Phoenix Symphony on the opening night of the 2014/2015 season. Elizabeth was similarly moved by the magic of this Carl Orff “scenic cantata” based on 13th century Bavarian secular songs.
Earlier in the day, in anticipation of this concert, I had (re)recorded “Carmina Burana’s” opening theme on my Clavinova, blending my version with Orff’s for the full orchestra/choir.
Click on the audio link below to hear it.
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And now, here’s also a music video I have just made which uses the above recording as a soundtrack…
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Back at the Phoenix Symphony Hall, some 200 musicians and two choir members accompanied the three soloists under the direction of Tito Munoz, the new conductor of the Phoenix Symphony. They combined to create the magic of medieval Bavaria (see NOTE 1 below for a synopsis of this piece).
This was not the first time Elizabeth and I have had a chance to attend a “Carmina Burana” event. In Oct 2011, we were fortunate enough to also to see and hear it at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
The following day, standing between the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial (above and right), a revelation came to me that practically dropped me to my knees. I was Albert. And Elizabeth was Victoria. That’s why we have been drawn over the years to this musical venue by our spirit guides as if by magnet (see Albert and Victoria Reunited, Oct 2011).
So “Carmina Burana” has already played a significant role in our lives. But last night’s performance at the Phoenix Symphony Hall was no less magical than our first encounter with it at the Royal Albert Hall in London three years ago.
Stravinsky’s “Firebird” Opened the Night of Magic
Earlier in the evening, Stravinsky’s “Firebird” (ballet music) opened the night of magic.
The Firebird tells of the downfall of a powerful, ogre-like figure of evil, Kastchei the Deathless, through the intervention of a beautiful rare bird – the enchanting character of the title. The miraculous Firebird is so called on account of her beautiful feathers, which glitter and flicker-like flames. Kastchei is in the habit of seizing pretty young princesses as captives while turning the knights who arrive to rescue them into stone. Crown Prince Ivan, the protagonist, enlists the Firebird’s help to destroy Kastchei and free his victims.
For more see NOTE 2 below.
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And here’s now my first recording of “Carmina Burana” made at the Rainbow Shower in Maui on a momentous day in the world history…
ALTZAR’s “Carmina Burana” recorded on 11-11-11
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NOTE 1: “CARMINA BURANA” SYNOPSIS
“My collected works begin with the Carmina Burana,” declared Carl Orff after the successful premiere in 1937 in Frankfurt, where it was staged with elaborate costumes and scenery. A late bloomer, Orff dismissed most his earlier compositions, including three adaptations of stage works by one of the “inventors” of opera, Claudio Monteverdi, as derivative and withdrew many of them. Carmina Burana also turned out to be his most well received by far. While he subsequently composed over a dozen other stage works in a similar musical style, none achieved the popularity of his “Opus One.”
Nineteen thirty-seven? In Frankfurt? Yes, this most popular work, a performance of which occurs once a day somewhere in the world, was not labeled “degenerate,” like so much contemporary music in Nazi Germany. Rather, Goebbels himself lauded Carmina Burana – in spite of its racy text – as a model for the music of the Reich. The composer not only positioned himself during the Nazi regime for the role of Reichsminister für Musik, but also abandoned and refused to help and bail out his friends and protectors when they ran afoul of the Nazis.
In an article in BBC Music, Tony Palmer relates a conversation with Orff’s only daughter, in which she stated: “He did not really love people; if anything, he despised people unless they could be useful to him.” If there were a contest for the composer with the most despicable character Carl Orff would definitely make the finals.
For more click on Phoenix Symphony Carmina Burana
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NOTE 2: “FIREBIRD” SYNOPSIS
The Firebird tells of the downfall of a powerful, ogre-like figure of evil, Kastchei the Deathless, through the intervention of a beautiful rare bird – the enchanting character of the title. The miraculous Firebird is so called on account of her beautiful feathers, which glitter and flicker like flames. Kastchei is in the habit of seizing pretty young princesses as captives while turning the knights who arrive to rescue them into stone. Crown Prince Ivan, the protagonist, enlists the Firebird’s help to destroy Kastchei and free his victims.
For more, click on Firebird Synopsis.