Saturday, April 25 • 7:30 pm
Sandra Levine Theatre
Sarah Belk Gambrell Center for the Arts & Civic Engagement
Queens University of Charlotte
Charlotte Master Chorale and Orchestra
Kenney Potter, conducting
On March 29, 1934, Carl Orff received an obscure book, whose title had happened to catch his eye in a catalog weeks earlier He later recalled, “On opening it I immediately found, on the front page, the long famous picture of ‘Fortune with her wheel,’ and under it the lines: 'O Fortuna velut luna statu variabilis … ' Picture and words seized hold of me. […] a new work, a stage work with singing and dancing choruses, simply following the illustrations and texts, at once came into my mind. On the very same day I had outlined a sketch in short score of the first chorus ‘O Fortuna.’ ”
The book, of course, was a copy of theCarmina Burana, an anthology of medieval poetry in Latin and vernacular languages compiled in Austria around 1230. "Carmina" means 'songs," while "Burana" is the Latinised form of Beuren, the name of the Benedictine monastery in Bavaria where the poems were discovered in 1803.
Orff selected 24 of the poems and dividedCarmina Burana into three sections – "Springtime," "In the Tavern," and "The Court Of Love." The work begins and ends with the famous invocation to Lady Fortune: “O Fortuna,” a fatalistic chorus in praise of the cruel goddess who brings both pleasure and suffering:
Written between 1935 and 1936 for soloists, choruses, and orchestra,Carmina Burana was originally conceived as a choreographed stage work, but is now more commonly performed concert-style.