On May 11, 2022

Castleton University’s ‘Carmina Burana,’ delights

Dear Editor,

If you missed the performance of “Carmina Burana,” you missed a unique musical treat. I took in the performance at the Casella Theater at Castleton University on April 30. This is one of my all-time favorite choral works and this performance did not disappoint. The Castleton Unversity Chorale, Rutland Area Chorus, Cimonetti Treble Ensemble of Mill River and accompanists hit every note, cadence, pause and pitch just right, to my ears.

Indeed, the Saturday performance received a standing ovation. Composed in 1936 by Carl Orff, “Carmina Burana” is challenging piece, with wildly varying rhythms, tongue-twisting lyrics, lavish use of percussion, and visceral intensity. The choruses navigated the libretto without missing a beat, shifting between secular Latin, Middle High German and Old French. Even without knowing those languages, listeners could perceive the changes in scene and mood.

The tavern scene includes a roast goose being served on a platter, interpreted with aplomb by tenor Jackson Aubuchon, who delivers the goose’s lament a cappella in falsetto register.

The work is an adaptation of medieval texts (loosely) translated as “Carmina burana: profane songs sung by soloists and chorus accompanied by instruments and also magical images.”

The opening theme is the fickleness of fate, represented by the Wheel of Fortune that endlessly rotates between pleasure and suffering and, in medieval secular belief, rules all existence on the earthly plane.

The selections then move on to springtime when the Earth comes alive once more and the lust for life is reborn. Rollicking drinking songs in the tavern relieve the sorrows all people have in common. The mating season commences, with desire and disappointment together; all Deadly Sins are cast aside; the court of love celebrates sweet surrender. The collection wraps with a tribute to Venus and returns to the full-throated opening theme in “O Fortuna,”

Julia Purdy, Rutland

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Short-term rentals are a scapegoat for every housing issue

June 12, 2024
Dear Editor, Short-term rental owners are not the evil housing tycoons we are sometimes made out to be. Vacation rentals peppered around our state make up just 2.5% of our housing stock yet contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to our state budget in the form of rooms/meals taxes and consumer spending. I’ve lived in Guilford for…

Override Scott’s veto to protect pollinator, ecosystem, public health

June 12, 2024
Dear Editor, In the peaceful farmlands and meadows of Vermont, a silent emergency unfolds. Bees, the heart of our agricultural ecosystem, face unprecedented threats to their survival. Despite Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Market reports claiming that bee populations are thriving, beekeepers around the state emphasize the deteriorating health of their colonies. These adverse…

Vermonters deserve affordability, but Gov. Scott has no ‘grand plan’ 

June 12, 2024
By Rep. Rebecca Holcombe Editor’s note: Holcombe is the state house representative for Windsor-Orange 2 and member of the Vermont House Appropriations Committee. She also served as the Vermont Secretary of Education 2014-2018. It’s groundhog day. Governor Scott vetoed the yield bill, again leaving Vermont school districts adrift. The reason: all the school budgets voters…

‘Time we stopped, hey,what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down’

June 5, 2024
Dear Editor, The movement to stop Israel’s murderous campaign against Palestinian civilians is up against the entire American military/industrial/congressional complex and assorted American war/death culture allies like AIPAC, The Heritage Foundation, and Fox News. Leaders of the most powerful American institutions and major party presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden want to continue official…