The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

April 11, 2014

MSSU choir, orchestra combines for performance of legendary 'Carmina Burana'

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Southern Symphonic Chorus and Orchestra will present Carl Orff's epic cantata, "Carmina Burana," at 3 p.m. Sunday at Central Christian Center, 410 S. Virginia Ave. in Joplin.

The free performance is a joint effort between the Southern Symphonic Chorus, which is composed of the MSSU Concert Chorale and volunteer singers, and the orchestra, which is made up of Missouri Southern students, faculty and professionals from the community. The performance will include Kansas City soloists Sarah Tannehill Anderson, soprano; David Adams, tenor; and Robert McNichols, baritone.

Listeners will likely recognize the cantata's first movement, "O Fortuna," which has been used extensively in popular media over the past few decades, often in movie or television scenes depicting conflict or drama. It has been used to score works such as the 1981 film "Excalibur," in which King Arthur and his knights ride to battle; the Fox comedy "Glee," during scenes between rivals Will Schuester, the glee club teacher, and Sue Sylvester, the cheerleading coach; and in a current commercial for Hershey's chocolate spreads.

Director David Sharlow said that although the popular first movement is exciting, listeners will discover that the rest of Orff's cantata is just as powerful, he said.

"Certainly, 'O Fortuna' is a wonderful movement in and of itself," he said. "But what they'll find is that the other movements are equally visceral and intense, and especially as the piece begins to come to a close, it sort of winds up and gets going to the climactic finish with 'O Fortuna' being sung again."

The most challenging aspect of the piece is the lyrics, which are a mix of medieval German Latin and middle-high German and French with medieval pronunciation, Sharlow said.

"Really, our goal here in the music department is to bring the standard of music performance to a very high level, and a piece like this lends itself to that goal," he said.

Sharlow regularly tries to get Missouri Southern's choirs out into the community to perform at nonacademic locales, such as churches, and this concert is no exception. It will be hosted by Central Christian Center, where the choir performed Handel's "Messiah" two years ago.

"The venue provides a beautiful aesthetic, and it also provides a great space for us," he said. "The acoustics are nice. You don't really recognize it until you get in there and the music begins to go that there are some really resonant spaces."

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