An eruption of the senses in a journey through life’s indulgences, Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” is among the most popular pieces for classical music concert-goers. The opening, “‘O Fortuna,” is immediately recognizable as the backdrop to many scenes in movies, television and commercials invoking drama unparalleled by other musical numbers. During a live performance, the sheer number of people required to perform the piece adds spectacle to the musical dramaturgy — especially when executed in a small venue such as the Fresno State Concert Hall.
Fresno State Music Department faculty, students, and alumni will combine forces for three performances of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” at 8 p.m., March 13 and 14 and 2:30 p.m. on March 15 at the Fresno State Concert Hall. Tickets are $20 general, $15 for seniors and $5 for students. All proceeds benefit the Music Student Scholarship fund. Parking is free in lots P1 and P31.
The Fresno State Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Thomas Loewenheim and the Fresno State Grand Chorus under the direction of Dr. Cari Earnhart will feature over 150 performers all together on stage. Faculty member soprano Dr. Maria Briggs will be joined by alumni Aaron Burdick and Lim Forgey as vocal soloists.
“‘Carmina Burana’ is a dramatic and emotionally charged work that will highlight many of our outstanding Department faculty and students, and alumni. We are extremely excited to perform this popular work for the Central Valley community, and hope to raise significant scholarship funds for our students in the process,” said Dr. Matthew Darling, chair of the Fresno State Department of Music.
First performed in 1937 in Germany, “Carmina Burana” is based on 24 medieval poems in Latin which date back to the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. The works are divided into three main sections: “In Spring,” “In the Tavern.” and “Court of Love” — bookended by “‘O Fortuna” as opening and closing pieces. The structure of the piece is based on the Fortuna Wheel — or the “Wheel of Fortune” — which represents the rise and fall of the human condition as the movements progress covering the topics of awakening, drunkenness, love and lust.