24 April 2009

Last Concert of the Season

The symphony concert tonight was awesome. I knew that they were going to be doing Carmina Burana, which would have been sufficient in and of itself to make the concert great. But the first half of the concert was The Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi. I'm sure I'd heard the first movement before (Pines of the Villa Borghese), but I don't think I'd heard the other three movements.

The really interesting thing was during the fourth movement. There is a strong, driving beat on the kettledrum throughout this part. I had allowed the music to take me into a middling meditative state, and I noticed that my heart was beating exactly in time with the beat. It was fascinating. As the music changed tempo, my heartbeat would take a beat or so to "catch up", but it would then beat exactly in time with the music again. I'd heard such a thing was possible, but never before experienced it.

Here is the fourth movement of Pines of Rome, and here is the first song of the Carmina Burana (O Fortuna!). We sang this one when I was in senior choir in high school, as well as Fortuna Plango. I think the next year, they did Ecce Gratum. There were actually several versions on YouTube. I picked that one because it seemed to have the best vocalization. I was extremely disappointed with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra version. It needed the quiet spots to contrast with the loud.

The Carmina Burana is a somewhat odd work, in that the lyrics are all from 13th century poems. About half of it is in Latin, and the other half is in archaic German. It's a mixture of songs that glorify love and songs that despair of fate, or at least acknowledge that fate is fickle and there's no getting away from it. The overall effect, if you pay attention to the translations, is rather existential. However, the music itself is enjoyable whether or not you pay attention to the translations.

(Apologies if this is a bit incoherent; I'm short on sleep)

AM ADDENDUM: Forgot to mention this last night, but after Pines of Rome, I heard the people behind us wondering aloud how the symphony could possibly top that in the second half. I just grinned to myself. Apparently these people hadn't encountered the Carmina Burana before! (And I'll let the disconnectedness from last night stand, as I find it mildly amusing now that I'm more awake.)


donna said...

When my first son was born, th emusic from "The Sting" was playing in the room, and his heart beat on the monitor synched up with the music. That was an amusing moment, lightened up the whole mood of the stress of giving birth the first time!

Qalmlea said...

Nice. The only time I was hooked up to a heart monitor was when I had my retinal detachment fixed. Sadly, there was no music playing for me to see the two match up.