After the resounding success of the Beethoven Ninth in 2022, the Memphis Symphony and the UM Choirs collaborate again on a presentation of Carmina Burana, a cantata written by Carl Orff. The composer based his work on 24 poems from the medieval collection Songs of Beuern. This work is a perennial favorite with modern audiences with its spectacular evocation of how fate and fortune impacts lives.
Many people will recognize the famous movement “O Fortuna” that begins and ends the work. Commercials and movie tracks have used this exuberant piece to invoke a majestic and other-worldly atmosphere. Based on the idea of the turning Wheel of Fortune, the listener will hear joy, bitterness, hope and grief as the compositional structure moves through a melodic conversation supported by power rhythmic energy in the large orchestra dominated by brass and percussion. The cantata features three soloists who lead a large chorus of voices.
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