San Jose Symphonic Choir, conducted by Leroy Kromm, will present Carl Orff’s stirring Carmina Burana on Saturday, April 2. The Choir will be accompanied by Nova Vista Symphony, and joined by Vivace Youth Chorus of San Jose. Also on the program is Morten Lauridsen’s beautiful Lux Aeterna.
The concert will take place at Mission Santa Clara de Asís, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, at 8 p.m. A free pre-concert lecture will start at 7:15 p.m., and will be given by Anthony Quartuccio, Music Director of Nova Vista Symphony. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets, www.brownpapertickets.org. Call (408) 995-3318, or visit the Choir’s website, www.sanjosesymphonicchoir.org for more information.
Orff’s Carmina Burana, written in 1936, offers Latin texts with smatterings of medieval Bavarian German and Old Provençal French, set to highly contagious musical patterns that have elevated the work to one of the most often performed and listened-to choral pieces of all time. The text is based on a series of anonymous medieval poems, written by the Goliards, a colorful group of societal dropouts. The Goliards lived by their wits, and if lucky, might find favor with a wealthy patron; an example is the “Archpoet”, believed to have written several poems, but whose name is forever lost; he found favor with the Archbishop of Cologne. Naturally, taverns and pubs were magnets for these colorful individuals. And what would they sing about? Often their poems were raucous and bawdy, satirizing the chivalric portrayal of love popularized by troubadours. It is presumed that a monk at the monastery of Beuron in Bavaria in the late 13th century compiled over 200 of these poems into a collection and called it Carmina Burana. Hidden for hundreds of years, the collection was brought to Munich and published in 1847. The first and last movements of the piece – called “Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi” (“Fortune, Empress of the World”) – start with the universally known “O Fortuna,” made famous in popular culture via TV commercials, sporting events, and movies displaying scenes of epic proportions, and drawing both performers and audiences to this work.
Lux Aeterna, an ethereally lovely piece by a living American composer, Morten Lauridsen, was written in 1997 in memory of Lauridsen’s mother. This lyrical opus is based on a compilation of sacred Latin texts surrounding the theme of light in the context of memorial music – hence the title, Eternal Light. Quietly serene, the piece’s deep emotion contemplates light and its universal appeal and symbolism of hope, reassurance, and comfort.
San Jose Symphonic Choir is supported, in part, by a Cultural Affairs grant from the City of San Jose, and by grants from the Farrington Historical Foundation and Peery Fund.