Thursday, 11 May 2006

O Fortuna !

Carl Orff Carmina Burana (Cantiones profanae circa 13th century Bavaria)

O Fortuna, velut luna, statu variabilis, simper crescis aut decrescis; vita detestabilis nunc obdurate et tunc curat ludo mentis aciem; egestatem, potestatem dissolvit au glaciem.

O luck, like the moon, changeable in state, you are always waxing or waning; hateful life is one moment hard and the next moment watches over the mind's acumen in gambling; poverty, power, it melts like ice.

Tubular bells for standing up to and striking,
Chinese resonating gong, ditto.
Chinese bell (a proper one) ditto.
2 Tambourines, for rubbing the licked thumb along the skin, shaking the bells, or tapping and drumming.
Maracas (school day memories).
Triangle (how can the sound wave of a little ting travel so far ?).
Three xylophones, one or two wood bars, one metal bars, so probably 1 xylophone,
1 mettalophone and a celeste (without binoculars I couldn't tell).
2 cymbals, large and very large (you can almost see the sound waves coming towards you).
Huge bass drum, on a stand (enough to wake the dead).
2 sets of 4 timpani, gleaming kettles.
Hanging cymbal like a china man's hat, for striking rather than clashing.
2 grand pianos (with the lady from Radio 3 on mix console tucked in behind).
A thousand violins; i.e. too many to count.
A hundred or so violas, ditto.
8 cellos
4 string bass, the players lounging on bar stools to put their arms round and play them.
1 brass bass (like having a baby elephant on your knee).
4 farting trombones (I am allowed to say that, both father and ex played them).
Trumpets or cornets (I couldn't see which).
A CONTRA BASSOON, deserving of capitals.
2 other Bassoons.
Various breathy floating flutes, clarinets, oboes and also I think an oboe d'amore,
and 4 glorious hunting, sorry, glorious French Horns, muted with a fist or open sounding (needing regular tipping to exit the spittle, like all brass; that's why they are hidden behind something else in the orchestra, then brought home to lay in the bath).

A heavenly soprano, voluptuous, sensuous, her feet leaving the ground ever so slightly as she soared above the highest of high liquid notes.
A dark haired, jutting jawed, baritone; astride his voice.
A swooningly handsome tenor, so knowingly apt; milky coffee rather than black roasted* bean (see below), singing a swan's falsetto lament (and he did a 'high 5' with the children as he left the stage, a master of the craft of singing and encouraging young ones to sing).
A vast choir of coiffured sopranos, trendy altos, confident and numerous tenors (who are often rare in amateur choirs) and on-beat basses (also rare in A.C.s).
Sweetly composed childrens' choirs, some in colourful blouses; muted blues, lilacs, soft greys, but some still girded by school uniforms - white shirts and ties, I ask you).

All commanded and swept into Carmina Burana by a glorious tempestuous lady condutor; with style, wit and passion.

O Fortuna !

I've been there, done it (second alto 1988 ish), got the t-shirt (blue, size medium, Berlioz Grand Mass d'Morte, Royal Albert Hall 1989). Across the years and across the choral range from Bach to Holst and Vaughan Williams. No more, not got the stamina but I have still got the voice, so it was difficult to stay contained during last evening's stunning performance by the BSO, but Oh it was GLORIOUS to be there !

Sors salutis et virtutis michi nunc contraria, est affectus et defectus, simper in angaria. Hac in hora sine mora, corde pulsum tangite; quod per sortem, sternit fortem, mecum omnes plangite !

The luck of health and strength is against me, is attacked and ruined all the time, in your service. In this hour without delay sweep the sounding strings; and for that which, by lot, overthrows the strong man, weep with me, all of you !

Buy the CD, being recorded next week by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, hopefully with a printed translation, then listen and partake of the music:

... mourn the roasted swan: Once I dwelt on the lakes, once I appeared beautiful, when I was a swan. Miser, miser ! modo niger et ustus fortiter ! - Wretch that I am ! Now black * and roasting fiercely ! The spit turns and re-turns, my funeral pyre burns me fiercely; now the serving boy approaches me. Now I lie on a silver salver and I cannot fly away; - dentes frendentes video (yes really !) - I see champing teeth.

... join in the monk's drinking song: Ego sum abbas Cucaniensis: I am the Abbot of Cucany and my deliberation is among drinkers ...

... dance to welcome in spring: Floret silva nobilis, floribus et foliis - the noble wood is in bloom with flowers and leaves ... Gruonet der walt allenthalben, wa ist min geselle alse lange ? - If the wood is everywhere so green, why is my lover so long ? Der ist geriten hinnen, o wi, wer sol mich minnen ? - He has ridden away from here; alas, who shall love me ?

... so that when you hear: "Veni, veni, veni, venias" - you will hear just what the music (building to a climax) is implying - enough to make a maiden aunt blush !

O Fortuna !


Blogger The Goldfish said...

I am in the habit of singing In trutina mentis dubia in the bath. I'm not keen on Opera, but I love Carmina Burana. I went through a period of listening to the whole thing every day for about six months.

Thursday, 11 May 2006 at 22:39:00 BST  
Blogger dotandcarryone said...

Carmina Burana is wonderful stuff. I don't sing it in the bath but I have been known to chant some stanzas from the top of the hill, to the amazement of passing birds!

Sally, thank you for your recent post to my blog, which I have not published. I think it is a very nice idea; perhaps you could contact me via the email on my blog profile?

Friday, 12 May 2006 at 08:15:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Ladies - I'm so glad - as I am sure Carl O is up in heaven; that it is not only sung in a concert hall !
Oh, and I forgot, there was a harp too.

Friday, 12 May 2006 at 22:37:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Goldfish - I've been searching for 'in trutina mentis dubia' - how apt; we could sing a duet !
Or you could get the College of Arms to add a suitable banner to the flag of The Goldfish.

Saturday, 13 May 2006 at 14:08:00 BST  

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