Monday, June 4, 2012

Atlàntida and Carmina Burana with the New York Philharmonic

FALLA Selections from Atlàntida Scenic Cantata (1926-46)
ORFF Carmina burana (1937)

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos,  Conductor
Erin Morley,  Soprano
Emalie Savoy,  Soprano
Nicholas Phan,  Tenor
Jacques Imbrailo,  Baritone
Orfeón Pamplonés,  Chorus
Igor Ijurra Fernández,  Director
Brooklyn Youth Chorus,  Chorus
Dianne Berkun,  Chorus Director

Last Friday, the New York Philharmonic presented two massive choral works.

The orchestra performed Manuel de Falla's Atlàntida for the first time. I wasn't sure what to think of it. The composer conceived of an ambitious opera about the birth of Spain but had only completed sections of it when he died in 1946. The excerpts presented were from Falla's original score, impressive sounding but (not surprisingly) lacking in narrative structure. Orfeón Pamplonés,  the Spanish chorus, Savoy, and Imbrailo did sound wonderful and the orchestra under de Burgos performed with nationalistic fervor.

Carl Orff's Carmina burana isn't a subtle piece: the melodies are simple, the libretto is a bit crude, and the rhythms are heavy handed. But it's a crowd pleaser and the orchestra and both choruses seemed to be having a great time performing the work. Lovely solos from Morley and Imbralio, and Phan was delightful as the roasting swan.

During the intermission, right by the doors of the Orchestra section, I noticed portraits of the Philharmonic musicians by Thomas Mitz. The paintings are quite enchanting. Check them out next time you're in Avery Fisher Hall.


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