Final prep notes
We are having our 2nd sing-through this Tuesday, 4th October at my house, please contact me if you decide that you want in at this late stage - totally do-able!
Here is info on the times for the workshop, I got this from an email sent by NZCF way back when they started advertising the event, so perhaps there will be some updates coming through this week:
Friday 7 October 2022
6:00pm - 6:50pm Registration
7:00pm - 9:30pm Rehearsal One
Saturday 8 October 2022
9:30am - 12:30pm Rehearsal Two
2:00pm - 5:00pm Rehearsal Three
7:30pm - 8:45pm Concert
I'm in the process of finding out about dress code, and orchestration, just for interest. Will update here or on Tuesday.
Week 2: Orientation and booking
This week we'll look at a synopsis and more background to Orff's Carmina Burana, and get the big picture of what we're going to learn. There's details of how to register for the workshop too. Scroll down to see the previous week's posts.
The cantata for orchestra, chorus (that's us!) and vocal soloists premiered in Frankfurt, Germany in 1937. Orff drew his text from a 13th-century manuscript containing songs and plays written in Latin and medieval German. The manuscript was discovered in 1803 at a Bavarian monastery, and contains texts presenting a varied view of medieval life, including religious verses, social satires, and bawdy drinking songs.
Orff selected 24 songs, which he arranged into a prologue, an epilogue, and three parts of roughly equal length. The first part, Primo Vere (“In Early Spring”), presents youthful, energetic dances; the second part, In Taberna (“In the Tavern”), evokes drunken feasting and debauchery; and courtship and romantic love are the subject of the third part, Cour d’Amours (“Court of Love”). The prologue and epilogue are the same song: O Fortuna ("Oh Fortune") which frames the revelry of the three main movements with a stark warning about the power of luck and fate, offering the ancient image of a wheel of fortune that deals out triumph and disaster at random. "The forceful first measures are among the grandest statements in all choral literature." Reference: Encyclopaedia Britannica
It's a good idea to book your place for the workshop now. It will be helpful for NZCF to get an idea of who's coming - and also they are going to lend you a score, which I'm hoping they'll let us have sooner rather than later, so we have plenty of time to get familiar with it.
Book the workshop and/or concert tickets
Make your bookings through Humanitix
This workshop is being run by the New Zealand Choral Federation. Tickets for the workshop (Friday 7-9.30pm and Saturday 9.30am - 8.45pm) cost $50 and there was no booking fee. The concert is included in this cost, but if you just want to come to the Saturday evening performance (at 7.30pm) tickets are $15.
There are details of some special accommodation rates on that page too, if you're interested in staying overnight on Friday. We'll probably organise some car pooling a bit nearer the time.
Note that their refund policy is: Refunds are available up to 1 day prior to the event.
Week 2 Homework
Your homework for this week is to start listening to Carmina Burana, in order to familiarise yourself with it before we start learning it in detail.
There are LOADS of different performances of it on YouTube, here are a few to get you started, but have a look around to compare. You might have a recording at home of Carmina Burana - check if it's the whole cantata, or just O Fortuna - as you can appreciate, there's a lot more to this than that one famous song!
University of California, 2007 Has chapters, which can come in handy if you want to listen to one particular track
Antwerp, Belgium 2011. With subtitles (Latin original and English translation) click on 'cc' to enable. There are also chapters if you click 'show more' in the description
Week 1: Background to Carl Orff and Carmina Burana
Here's some interesting videos I've found about Carmina Burana and the composer Carl Orff. Feel free to email me stuff you find and I'll add it in to our growing resource list.
Brent Stewart, who will be our conductor at the workshop, made a short video when Orpheus Choir of Wellington were performing Carmina Burana back in 2020. Video here.
There's a nice overview of the plot of Carmina Burana by Houston Symphony.
Wikipedia is always a good starting place.
David Hurwitz from classicstoday.com recommends some recordings, and talks quite plainly about Orff's background. I like what he says at the end: “Enjoy it just for what it is and try not to think about too much else. It’s not music that lends itself to profound meditation and depth, it’s just supposed to be fun and exciting and colourful”
Oslo Philharmonic (turn on closed captions to get a translation)