Venue Details: Lighthouse
- Berlioz : Roman Carnival
- Elgar : Cockaigne
- Orff : Carmina Burana
- Conductor : Owain Arwel Hughes
- Soloist: Ailish Tynan (Soprano)
- Soloist: Mark Milhofer (Tenor)
- Soloist: Jacques Imbrailo (Baritone)
- Soloist: Bournemouth Symphony Chorus
Like most of Berlioz’ overtures, Roman Carnival opens with a brilliant orchestral flourish and seizes audience attention immediately. The music is salvaged from the core of his failed opera, Benvenuto Cellini’s great carnival scenes. It is a superb showpiece that makes it easy to understand why it strengthened his reputation as a brilliant orchestrator.
Elgar’s overture is an unashamedly populist portrait of ‘old London town’, complete with references to whistling errand boys, lovers strolling in the park and a marching band. Elgar described the music as “cheerful and Londony – ‘stout and steaky’”. He dedicated it “to my many friends, the members of British orchestras”.
Carmina Burana was an instant popular success, although its international acclaim had to wait until after World War II. It courts popularity in part by avoiding complexities in harmony and rhythm, but it is impossible to deny Orff’s skill in pacing and design, the catchiness of his tunes, and the splendid way in which everything “sounds.” He groups the various amorous and bawdy poems in three chapters. The first, Springtime and On the Green, offer pastoral and genre poems. The second is In the Tavern and the third is The Courts of Love, concluding with the ecstatic address to Blanziflor and Helena.