On May 12 and 13 the stage at Kleinhans Music Hall was barely large enough to contain the 300 plus musicians and singers for the blockbuster performance of Karl Orf’s “Carmina Burana”.
But first the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra directed by JoAnn Falletta performed the Jaakko Kuusisto composition “Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, Op 36” with BPO principal trumpet player Alex Jokipii as the featured soloist.
Speaking on the piece, Jokipii noted that the composition gave the player a chance to breathe, provided a musical challenge, and had a nice melody.
Although it is a Contemporary composition, the Concerto has a Romantic feel with elements of the folk songs from Jaakko’s homeland of Finland. The Concerto is also reminiscent of Gershiwin’s “American in Paris”.
Alex’s flawless performance earned him a callback to the stage three times for a bow.
During the intermission the risers were set for the Girls Choir that was created for the event. With Orchestra chairs inches from the edge of the stage the BPO, the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, and the Buffalo GirlChoir filled the stage to capacity for a performance of “Carmina Burana”.
Composed in 1935, Karl Orf selected 24 of over 200 letters and poems from the 13th century that had been saved by the Monks in a nearby Monastery in his native Munich.
The work opens and closes with the most well known portion of the piece – “Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi” (Empress of the World). The remaining sections are about the wonders of Spring, eating and drinking – complete with a tavern setting, and love.
Along with the full chorus; soprano Am Owens had no difficulty in hitting the high notes with clarity and Elliot Madore provided the baritone parts. And standing in for an ailing Andrew Shoog, Jack Swanson not only provided the tenor part, but also served as some comic relief as he snag the part of the frightened main course of the meal in the tavern.
It was a delightful performance that brought together a number of musical elements in Buffalo and demonstrated the rich musical culture the area has to offer.