Carmina Burana

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4th February 2015
Wed 7.30pm

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Carmina Burana

Kodály  Missa Brevis

Orff  Carmina Burana

Royal Festival Hall, London, UK

Orchestra - Philharmonia Orchestra

Conductor - David Hill

Soprano - Grace Davidson

Mezzo soprano - Eleanor Minney

Tenor - Robert Murray

Baritone - Gareth John

The Young Singers

Concert Synopsis

Carmina Burana is Carl Orff’s best-known work, and it brings together all the most interesting elements of his musical style.  Although the text is taken from the writings of itinerant students in the 12th and 13th centuries, the music is full of 20th century rhythmic vitality and energy, whilst being enduringly accessible, with its often simple, repeated phrases and uncomplicated harmonies.  The opening chorus, O Fortuna, is very familiar to many people, through its use in various TV shows and adverts.

Carmina Burana is in three main sections, with the first celebrating the return of Spring and the promise of love.  The second addresses the vices of gambling and drinking and includes a boisterous and energetic drinking song, as well as the famous lament of the roasted swan, whilst the third returns to the theme of love, with the music becoming increasingly passionate and exciting.

We are delighted that The Young Singers, a choir of children formed in partnership with the Tri-Borough Music Hub, will be performing with us again in this concert.

Please note that tenor Christopher Lemmings has been replaced by Robert Murray

Notes From the Composer / Conductor

Ahead of our performance of Carmina Burana and the Kodály Missa Brevis in the Royal Festival Hall on Wednesday 4 February, we talked to soprano soloist Grace Davidson.  We began by asking her about the last time she sang Carmina Burana.

“I sang this as the accompaniment to a ballet production and it was particularly challenging as I had to sing from the orchestra pit and some of the speeds were very different from usual as we had to fit with what the dancers wanted.  I remember that parts of it, particularly In trutina, were incredibly slow.  I’m very much looking forward to singing this on stage and at a more appropriate speed!”

Grace is entirely at home on the stage of the Royal Festival Hall, having been performing there since she was a child.  With the Finchley Children’s Music Group she sang in a Christmas production of the Nutcracker, going on to perform many times with The Sixteen, Monteverdi Choir and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and as soloist in the Fauré Requiem.”

Finally, we asked Grace about her all-time favourite musical experience to date.  “That has to be performing Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Bach’s church – the Thomaskirche, Leipzig – on Good Friday. Wonderful!”