By Brenda Tremblay ~ Posted Tue, 04/15/2008 - 7:55am
The Rochester Oratorio Society is rehearsing Carmina Burana, the secular cantata by Carl Off, composed in the 1930’s. It's based on a thirteenth century manuscript discovered in a Bavarian monastery. Beloved by singers and derided by critics for its lack of polyphony, Carmina celebrates spring, sex, love, and drinking, all while bemoaning the vagaries of fate. It’s fun stuff. In the upcoming May performance, the conductor has decided to use the “Coro Piccolo,” that is, to have a small chorus sing some of the sections instead of the full choir singing everything. This doesn’t please those left out, and during last night’s rehearsal, a few confessed to feeling resentful. “I KNOW that part,” said one soprano chosen to sit out during the small chorus sections. “I feel MUTINOUS.”
I've never performed it in this way, and I'm curious to hear the overall effect.
Early in the canata, we sing ECCE GRATUM, a spring song.
"Behold, the welcome and desirable Spring brings back joys. The brightly coloured meadow is in flower. The sun brightens everything. Now let sorrows depart! Summer returns, now the rage of Winter retires.
Now hail, snow and the rest turn to water and flow away. Winter flees and already Spring sucks at the breasts of Summer. He bears an unhappy heart who neither lives nor plays under Summer's right hand.
They who strive to enjoy the reward of Cupid rejoice and take pleasure in honey sweetness. Let us be at the command of the Cyprian (Venus), glorying and rejoicing to be the equals of Paris."