Issue date: 19 March 2004

ISSUE DATE: 19/03/04

Saturday 27 March 2004 at 7.30pm

A huge chorus and orchestra are being assembled for UWE’s spring concert at Bristol Cathedral on Saturday 27 March. The programme includes some of the most popular of light twentieth-century classics including Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and Gershwin’s ever popular Rhapsody in Blue with Daniel Becker as soloist. The concert features a chorus of nearly two hundred as the UWE Singers are joined by the choirs of Colston’s Girls’ School. It will be conducted by Martin Freke and Ian Holmes.

The main work of the evening is Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana - one of the best known and best loved masterpieces of the 20th century. The early 13th century manuscript of Carmina Burana was discovered in 1803 at the South German Abbey of Benediktbeuren. These bawdy poems, probably written by wandering mediaeval scholars, range from the coarse and erotic to accurately targeted satires upon the establishment of their rough, tough time. Within Orff's work, which selects 25 of the poems, the action exists symbolically within one turn of the Wheel of Fortune. Through this exuberant work, first performed staged in 1937, Carl Orff achieved wide recognition. None of his subsequent works has achieved the same degree of popular acclaim.

Martin Freke, conductor of the UWE Symphony Orchestra describes Orff’s most famous choral work, “It seems that Orff's commitment was to create works of 'total theatre', in which music, words and movement might combine for overwhelming effects. Carmina Burana realises this ideal superbly: through scraps of melody, ritualistic rhythms, block harmonies and vivid orchestration, Orff's technique produces an effect of powerful sensuality and direct physical excitement reinforced by a vast array of forces in the orchestra including triple woodwind, plus Eb clarinet, two pianos, celeste, five timpani (including a piccolo drum), and five percussionists playing 20 percussion instruments. Vocally he calls for a big choir; little choir and ragazzi boys' choir.

“With the coming of spring and the attendant celebrations, the thoughts of youth turn to lust and love. In the second part the scene shifts to the tavern where elation and degradation seem to be regular bedfellows, joining virtually every other conceivable class of person in combating life's vicissitudes with fortitude and alcohol. The final section is devoted to the Court of Love - a popular mediaeval image. With a climactic hymn in honour of Blanzifor and Helena, Love seems to reign as supreme force in our universe before, inexorably, the Wheel of Fortune rolls on and over it, crushing even the finest of human feelings and actions in its remorseless revolution.”

Tickets £12, £10, £8, £5 (concessions available) from Bristol Cathedral Box Office (0117) 946 8183 or by post from the Centre for Performing Arts, UWE, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY (cheques made payable to UWE Bristol)

Pay what you can tickets available on the door to anyone under 18 or to students producing their Students Union card (minimum donation £3).

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