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Musings from the Maestro

O Fortune,

like the moon

you are changeable,

ever waxing

and waning;

hateful life

first oppresses

and then soothes

as fancy takes it;

poverty

and power,

it melts them like ice.

Carmina Burana

The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra’s popular 2009-2010 season, entitled "Inspired by Nature" comes to an ecstatic conclusion in its Grand Finale concerts on May 22-23. The centerpiece will be Carl Orff’s timeless masterpiece, "Carmina Burana," which has reached far into popular culture, making it into the soundtracks for the films "Excalibur," "The Hunt for Red October," and "The General's Daughter." It has also been used by many pop musicians, including Michael Jackson.

Just what is Carmina Burana’s appeal? The poetry deals with timeless subjects of life, love and loss. Although written in 13th century Latin it has a surprisingly modern sensibility. The Latin language gives the poetry an extra punch and is ultra-expressive and descriptive — sometimes shockingly so.

But it is the music — the unforgettable rhythms, pounding and hypnotic — that gets under your skin and makes your hairs stand on end. The music sounds contemporary and relevant. Even hip-hop music seems to pale in comparison to the primitive and expressive power of Orff’s music.

So it’s the combination of compelling and graphic poetry with this hyper-propulsive music that give "Carmina Burana" its unique appeal — to both classical music lovers and popular culture.

So electrifying is "Carmina Burana" that is practically impossible for me to sleep after performances! Sharing the stage with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra will be The Metropolitan Chorus, Heritage Signature Chorale, NOVA Chorus and Alexandria Choral Society.

Also on the program are guest flute soloists Josue Casillas and Sara Stern playing music by Telemann and a fascinating work by Libby Larsen, entitled "Atmosphere of a Fluid System."

Our "Inspired by Nature" theme this season was so popular that we are extending it into an exciting new direction for our 2010-2011 season, entitled "Symphonic Vistas!" Headliners will be Garrick Ohlsson, Jenny Oaks Baker and Steffen Horn in a season featuring many of music’s greatest evocations of nature … and of man’s endless fascination and love of nature.

See you at the concert!