need to find out who is writing the program notes–they’re hysterical! [editor's note: Mark Rohr] I was indulging in a bit of pre-concert preparation (i.e. frantically reading the program three minutes prior to the performance for background) and stumbled upon this little gem: “[Carmina burana] is a collection of some 250 poems left by the goliards, itinerant clerics and scholars who rejected what the church had become and concerned themselves instead with earthly delights. Today we might call them college dropouts.” So entertaining, yet so very true.
I absolutely adored Carmina burana. It reminded me of "The Miller’s Tale" in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with its primal, lusty nature. I love that Carmina is impeccably human and makes no apology for it. The symphony and Mendelssohn Choir gave me chills from the very beginning of “O Fortuna.” I feel as though I should have experienced Carmina already (several times), as it is so powerful. It’s absolutely hypnotic; I did not, at any point, find myself thinking about anything other than the poetry and the music. This is quite remarkable, considering that I tend to have the attention span of a flea. The soloists gave breath to poetry that is already vivacious and effervescent. The music was accented with sexual tension and was blatantly frisky (fabulous job, symphony!). If I smoked, I would blown through an entire pack of cigarettes. And the lyrics…they are works of art. If Facebook didn’t threaten to own my soul already, I would post some of them.
Cynthia DeAlmeida is an oboe rock star. The arms of the music that she played reached out and massaged my soul; the troubles of the day ebbed for a moment and I was left with total serenity. Along that line, I’d discovered another very interesting program note during my hasty pre-performance “research.” DeAlmeida was featured on the CBS “Early Show” in 2003, where she discussed the surprising health benefits that the oboe has for asthma suffers. Her music actually inspired an asthmatic patient, who was on the brink of death, to play the oboe. His practice strengthened his lungs and saved his life. Cynthia, you’re an oboe superstar, that is what you are.
The symphony saves my life in small way every time I attend, simply by providing a momentary respite from my chaotic existence. And for that, I am truly thankful.