Concert Review: O Fortuna! Carmina Burana – Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra, Adrian Tan, 18 December 2016
O Fortuna! Carmina Burana
KELLY TANG: Apocalpyso
CARL ORFF: Carmina Burana
Xi Wang, soprano Melvin Tan, tenor Alvin Tan, baritone
Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra and The Joy Chorale
with the Chorale Découverte
Adrian Tan, conductor, Khor Ai Ming, chorus director
18 December 2016, Sunday, 5pm
Esplanade Concert Hall
Verse by Soo Kian Hing
velut luna statu variabilis,
semper crescis aut decrescis;
vita detestabilis munc obdurate et tunc curat ludo mentis aciem,
egestatem, potestatem dissolvit ut glaciem.
Like the moon you are ever changing
Waxing and waning;
Wretched life, now brutal then soothing, like a game
Melting poverty and power like ice.
Here beginneth the Book of the Tales of Braddellheights
When that twentieth century came to an end
Y2K was but one apocalypse foretold
Yet as the world went on, all rejoiced
‘Apocalypso’ was the music of choice
To mark our triumph over Fortune
Anxious and dire, its axial tonality
Gives way to calpyso
Folk and celebratory dance
Valiant conductor, battling themes and pressing pace
Weaving nimbly through a ‘hideously treacherous score’ (composer’s words);
But mayhaps deeper layers and slower build
May let us rediscover this piece anewStill, grand effort for an orchestre de communauté,
Heralding the main showpiece, O Fortuna!
Empress of the world. Well-known theme
Well-rehearsed and well-played, resplendently ominous.
Fortune Plango Vulnera. The wheel of Fortune turns
The choir warns! Foreboding, auguring,
The orchestra suitably tight in pacing.
The Springtime like a medieval chant
Choir hallowed, baritone evocative;
Ece gratum. More rejoicing, floral outbursts
Light-hearted, lovely and fresh. Ah!
Tanz put orchestra centrestage
A tad heavy, nevertheless saved
by comically fluttering women in Floret Silva Nobilis
Countered by the cantering satire of the men.
Chramer, gip die varwe mir went easy in German
Alluring voices, sweet and enticing.
In the Tavern, baritone Alvin Tan turned the mood
Impassioned, engaging impression he giveth
Of an Ordo Vagorum, wandering scholar
Supple flesh, lusty heart and bawdy tales.
Cignus Ustus Cantat roasting on the spit,
Tenor Melvin Tan in character, waxed bitter humour:
Mocking, wailing, theatrics perfect.
Baritone again, as Abbot of Cockaigne
could be more persuasive
Drink is his order, perhaps more sway.
In Taberna Quando merriment not quite
Tenors’n basses lively but quiet
‘Tis the fault of no-one but numbers
Alas! But we digress. Such concerns are not for us.
In the Court of Love children’s choir angelic as cupids
Soprano Xi Wang radiant, baritone lyrically expressive
But a more forceful choir in Veni, Veni, Venias
Would be appreciated, I see.
Tempus Es Iocundum oh! Such risque lyrics (fortunately, in Latin)
Charming but straight rendition,
Perhaps the better to spare the children.
Wang’s high register perfectly pitched
And with Ave Formosissima the choir exulted
Glorious jubilation, segued in-
To Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi
In retelling, the theme more fatalistic
Yet hope dwells in the final chord
Choir and orchestra steady on the wheel of Fortune.
Turning through the year, we celebrate Yule
Singing ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’
Arranged by Bang Wenfu, orchestration Rasull
Perfect light-hearted, foot-tapping foil
For the heavy sentiment we had wrought.
And turn again into twenty-seventeen
Which side will Fortune favour,
Who will she deny?
This year will see more collaborations
Anno iucundus, certus sum!
Here is ended the Book of the Tales of Braddellheights, compiled by Soo Kian Hing
On whose soul the Flying Inkpot have mercy. Amen.