Wednesday, November 21, 2007


carmina burana

the other night, i went to san jose with tammy, chris, and ben m. to see carmina burana. the performance of carmina burana in all its splendor involves a ballet troupe, an orchestra, and a mixed-voice chorus. it's a ballet set to the music of carl orff, which in turn was created based on a set of medieval poems on the oh-so-secular subjects of love, wine, and general excess in the face of shifting fortune.

i really enjoyed the performance. i don't know anything about ballet, but i didn't get the impression that the dancing was impeccable. (although maybe if i'd been more impressed by the costumes i wouldn't have been as critical.) and the chorus seemed a little small and non-loud. (although as chris pointed out, our eardrums are used to slightly higher decibel levels during our normal forays into musical showcasing.) but it was wonderful to take in classical singing and dancing performance at the same time. i'm pretty familiar with the whole of the choral work, so i was able to revel in listening to sounds that i like while watching an art form that i hardly ever see.

what i want to get at is: it was a great way to be exposed to some New.

i have a hard time enjoying classical music, opera, and dance performances without having at least a little knowledge of the piece(s) i'm going to see. without prior knowledge, i end up sitting there in a vast sea of unfamiliar and overwhelming soundscape. and even if there's dance or operatic acting to supplement the sound, i have a hard time appreciating the movement because i'm trying to follow the sound at the same time. if i already know the music, i have two advantages: 1. i can tell if the version i'm hearing is good or bad or mediocre, and appreciate all the best aspects of the performance; 2. i can anticipate upcoming sounds and focus more on how the dance or acting is utilizing those sounds.

this is a known thing, i would assume, for most people, and fairly simplistic. so i shall just finish with a request to my friends and my self: that i be informed of other like-formed/multidisciplinary classical works of music, song, and dance, so that i might learn more about them and go see them when they're up for staging.

[all the better if the subject matter is raucus or risque. a few quotes from our program last night, which was an excellently amusing bit of reading for the intermission...]

Part I - Primo Vere

4. Omnia sol temperat - exols the essence of lie-giving force, love--or sex.

5. Ecce gratum - by contrast, depects how sad Springtime can be without the opportunity for love and urges the 'have nots' to rectify the matter.

10. Were diu werit alle min - offers a winsome invitation to love-making.

Part II - In Taberna

11. Extuans interius - salutes the efficacy of the bottle. A drunken gambler muses about the personal use to which he has put the bottle.

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