Carmina Burana review

MAGGIE COTTON ENJOYS A NOTORIOUS CARMINA BURANA

CARMINA BURANA
Notorious at CBSO Centre *****

Forty-strong 'Notorious' a highly confident choir formed in 1997 by conductor Clare Edwards, delivered a truly spectacular programme this evening.
The first half was taken over by two concert pianists, both performing keyboard endurance tests. Multi award-winning Edward Leung chose mind-blowing Liszt, whilst composer/performer Stephen Webster complemented with a more accessible, but no less challenging Chopin Ballade.
Orff's Carmina Burana was given in the version for two pianos and a great swathe of percussion tamed by five highly skilled players. This is a smiling romp - difficult to follow the ancient elaborate Latin text, but nevertheless accessible music when the translations are read. Highly individual music, with mind testing solos for baritone, Oliver Gibbs. . was he really into alto and bass regions too? Amazing!
The well-trained choir delivered high impact with all their entries, with very clear direction from sensitive conductor Clare Edwards. There is obviously great rapport and good balance from all on stage.
Each section of Carmina was high-lighted by colourful medieval-style illustrations shown on a huge hanging screen. Very helpful for keeping track.
Marvellous rhythm delivered by the top rank percussion section, skilfully and discreetly moving from instrument to instrument - a huge array, from tubular bells, and timpani, to modest, but audible triangle and many others between. Pianos melded into the general array with tact and discretion to soloistic bombast. Very colourful.
We all enjoyed soloist Matthew Minter's swan, with high falsetto and decoration of white feathers. The pretty children's small chorus self-conciously sang their contribution with charm after which soloist Phillipa Lay's high 'D' soared through a non-breathing audience back to a vigorous repeated beginning, full choir in full voice.

Maggie Cotton

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