The Mansfield Symphony & Chorus join forces at the Renaissance Theatre as they continue their 2022-23 season on Saturday, March 18 at 8:00pm to present one of the biggest and baddest pieces of all time, Carl Orff’s choral masterpiece, “Carmina Burana.”

Considering that rhythm and rock’n’roll fit together like a hand and glove, when it comes to classical music the percussion generally take a back seat to rows and rows of stringed and wind instruments.  For this unique performance, the percussion will be getting a real workout – along with the rest of the orchestra!

“Carmina Burana” is a 24 piece cantata that is the only work for which its composer, Carol Orff, is know for today; however, it is a standard component of the classical repertoire – or at least the first and last movements. “O Fortuna,” which features an overwhelming martial air, has been featured many times over in everything from film scores to television commercials for generations. From the downbeat you will immediately remember this unforgettable piece with its larger than life magnitude!

Sung in its original Latin and middle high German, no translation is needed – the music speaks for itself. Some is pensive, others are parodies, even including a drinking song!  Once the military feel of the opening movement is dispensed with, the cantata slows down and becomes lighter than air relying on rhythm as it heralds the arrival of spring, celebrating love.

The composer wrote this work in a very sophisticated time and location in a time when academic composers such as Schoenberg were in his contemporaries. It was the equivalent of a pop show, music that was definitely shunned.

Orff also found himself in the shadows of composers such as Igor Stravinsky who wrote in much the same style of Orff’s “Carmina Burana.”  While Stravinsky took the rhythmic element to the primitive aspects of music, he did it in a quite complicated way. Orff went to an even more rudimentary place with his music.

Carl Orff, born in 1895, had only been known as a musical educationalist and specialist for ancient music until he composed this piece in 1935-36.  He was known for music education in its simplest form, and even now his method of teaching simple melodies on basic instruments remains the standard in many primary schools.  He finally achieved his breakthrough as a composer through the first performance of “Carmina Burana” in Frankfurt, Germany in 1937.

Carmina Burana did not by any means receive the undivided approval of the authorities in power at the time. Criticism was expressed regarding the incomprehensibility of the Latin language and the hint of a jazz atmosphere. The second scenic performance did not take place until 1940 in Dresden. Although Orff’s music was not banned, it remained controversial and was observed critically.

Part of the OhioHealth Symphony Series, this performance will be directed by Mansfield Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Octavio Mas-Arocas.  To purchase tickets to this special performance, visit the Renaissance Theatre website, rentickets.org, or visit/call the box office at 419-522-2726, 138 Park Avenue West in Mansfield.

Source and Photo from the Renaissance Performing Arts Association

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