Music, music, music

Published 11:20 am Thursday, November 17, 2016

How lucky is Oxford that they can assemble more than 300 musicians to preform the most popular secular corral-orchestra musical work of the 20th century! This music is everywhere. It is the theme music for numerous commercials, movies, and television shows. It is even popular as a marching band arrangement, including our own The Pride of the South.

Carmina Burana, which performed Monday at the Ford Center, is a collection of 254 protests, poems, and texts, mostly from the 11th and 12th centuries. They were written as protests by students and clergy against The Catholic Church and other authoritarian organizations.

How pertinent this is!

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our present day protesters would do their thing in poems and songs? Our protesters would probably be killed immediately back in those days.

The verses of Burana were lost for several centuries and rediscovered in 1803. Twenty four of them have been set to music, and that is what we are hearing tonight.

Our performers are 209 singers plus approximately one hundred instruments. They preformed magnificently, reminding me of concerts in Carnegie Hall.

The great thing about this oratorio is, you don’t have to wait thirty minutes to get to the theme. It hits you right in the jaw after about two minutes, and you cannot stop humming it for days. This is the popular tune “Fortuna” which we have heard hundred of times. I remember it best as the background music for “The Book Of Eli” and “Odyssey.”

Donald Trott, the conductor, was in command at all times. I did not hear a single note which was played on a rest. Each piece flowed flawlessly, and there is nothing more beautiful than properly phrased Latin song.

The appearance of the Lafayette Middle School and Oxford Intermediate School was very touching, and they sang to perfection.

The soloists were truly spectacular. Bradley Robinson, baritone, had great strength and could lead the entire ensemble with gusto. I loved the Hereld Tenor of Donald Trott, and his voice was just below falsetto. There was a little mix up of who would sing next, but it did not distract from the program as a whole.

Top musical kudos unquestionably went to flautist Diane Wang, and conductor Trott properly gave her a bow at the end. She held her melody against the weight of the entire orchestra. Being an old flautist myself, I know how hard this can be. The tuba’s made it fun with their ooo-pa’s. The tympani kept the pace right on the mark.

If you have the opportunity to hear Carmina Burana in the future don’t miss it. You will be humming “Fortuna” for days.

Jim Spell is a retired medical doctor and lives in Oxford.