Monday, February 25, 2008

Carmina Burana Heaven

I hate to take attention away from Killing the Angel in the House (see last post), but I had such a moving experience on Saturday night that I really want to memorialize it. Michael, Tori, Alix and Adam, friends Tony and Eric, and I went to the Houston Symphony Chorus and Houston Symphony's performance of the Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein and Carl Orff's stirring Carmina Burana.

Aside: The Houston Symphony Chorus members are volunteers!! Imagine all the work they do just for the love of music. I applaud them doubly for this. My friend June Russell sings in the chorus. She has a lovely voice and when M. and I viewed the recording from his recent birthday party, we discovered that she had sung a special Happy Birthday to him. (See my post New Years and Brass Bands for more on the birthday bash.) June is also a great photographer.

I love the Carmina Burana. My son Nick is responsible for bringing it into our family's consciousness more than ten years ago. I actually have the music downloaded onto my iPod Shuffle. It creates a unique rhythm for working out at the gym.

Last year, the Houston Ballet performed the Carmina Burana as a dance, musical components interwoven with the ballet. They had three full choirs singing, two adult and one children's. The stage practically overflowed with bodies. That experience in music and dance exceeded any artistic performance I have ever seen in sheer majesty and power. The Symphony and the Symphony Chorus had their own power, though. We had orchestra seats and thus fantastic visual and aural experiences. (At the ballet, the orchestra was hidden in the pit and we were seated in the Grand Tier.)

I thought the violins would burst into flame a few times because their playing was so phenomenally fast. The vocal soloists delivered such wonderful performances that I can scarcely find the words to describe it. There was lots of emoting, including some cutting up and hamming. During the "swan song," the soloist sang from the audience and actually stood right behind us for part of his delivery.

But I must give the most credit the the chorus. Their range in this composition is so challenging. The seamlessness of their performance awed me and literally brought me to tears. Thank you Houston Symphony Chorus, Houston Symphony, (the name unknown to me) Children's Chorus, and soloists for a performance that thrilled me, made me laugh, and made me cry from sheer joy.


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