Carmina BuranaColorado Springs Philharmonic
Conductor: Josep Caballé Domenech
Date: May 21, 2017

Pierre Jalbert

In the final commissioned piece of this 90th Philharmonic season, Pierre Jalbert takes the term “from sea to shining sea” quite literally with his piece, Zones. With the majority of the music conveying the depths of the ocean, it was interesting to hear the various deep-sea creatures as they passed by (most of which seemed to be quite large and dangerous). Eventually, the listener arrives near the surface of the ocean and can hear the rays of light penetrating down into the water. During the last moments of the piece, the listener emerges on dry land and quickly finds themselves in the alpine “zone” of the top of Pike’s Peak.

Martern Aller Arten (from The Abduction from the Seraglio) / Verdrai, carino (from Don Giovanni)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

These selected arias from Mozart’s repertoire weren’t that recognizable, but they certainly gave soprano Celena Shafer the chance to show off. Having been in a choir before, I know I sing best when standing; but in this case, I have much more respect for the operatic singers than I already had. Shafer sang her heart out while also conveying the deep and complex emotions that accompanied each piece through the movement of her body. The fact that she can sing so consistently bent over or sitting down merely belies the talent of the classically trained singer.

Carmina Burana
Carl Orff

I came across this piece many years ago in college (around the same time I got into Dvorak’s 9th Symphony). I’m certain most people are already familiar with the “O, Fortuna” section of this piece since it features prominently in almost every other movie trailer on the planet. What they may not realize is the whole context of Carmina Burana is that of wine, women, and song. While I was already familiar with the music of the piece, I was never quite sure what the choir was singing about until this performance. The translated lyrics that appeared above the Philharmonic were quite useful in finally gaining an understanding of the underlying story contained within this epic piece. Of course, as is the case with many epic pieces of music, listening to it performed live beats listening to it on CD or vinyl every time.

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