Magnificent may be the right word to describe "Carmina Burana," the March 8 concert being prepared by the Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra.
Carl Orff's 1930s composition, whose lyrics come from 24 poems found in a collection of medieval secular songs, will be performed by the 90 musicians of the SSO and massed choirs made up of 200 adults and 50 children, including the Deer Creek Chorale and guest singers from the Harford Choral Society, Towson Choral Society, Towson Honors Choir, the Frederick Children's Chorus and All Children's Chorus of Annapolis.
The program will open with Martha "Marty" Banghart directing the Deer Creek Chorale and the orchestral strings in a shorter choral gem, Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus." Maestro Bair will conduct the massed choirs in "Carmina Burana."
"Marty Banghart and I started to discuss a collaboration two years ago," SSO director Sheldon Bair said. "After considering many works like masses by Mozart and Schubert or the 'Dona Nobis' by Vaughan Williams, we settled on a work that required massed choirs and a large orchestra. Marty secured the participation of the other choirs and found the soloists. It is a large undertaking, but we are sure that it will reap great rewards."
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. on March 8 at Bel Air High School, 100 Heighe St. The pre-concert lecture at 6:50 p.m. has been planned to heighten audience enjoyment of the program. Dr. Arian Khaefi, director of choral activities at Towson University and artistic director and conductor of the Handel Choir of Baltimore, will talk about the musical sources, settings and inspiration for "Carmina Burana."
Because the concert is likely to sell out, those who are not season ticket holders are encouraged to buy advance tickets. These are available at MusicLand, Preston's Stationery, and Music & Arts Center ($20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students) or from TicketLeap via http://www.ssorchestra.org.
Guest soloists will be soprano Teri Bickham, tenor Christopher Dudley and baritone Jeffrey Grayson Gates.
With the universal appeal his masterpiece continues to exert over audiences, Carl Orff has been showered with accolades.
The passions, longings, fancies and delights to which modern singers give voice today are recognized as the same as those experienced by men and women of the Middle Ages.
The songs are the voice of Everyman, caught on the Wheel of Fortune as it inexorably turns. Fortune is fickle, and men of all ages – as well as one very sad swan – are vulnerable to its ups and downs. Themes include the dangers of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust, as well as the simple joys of nature and young love.