Superb Canadian vocalists Erin Wall, Daniel Taylor, and Russell Braun plunge into a world of fiery passion, dramatic power, and lofty spirituality in Carmina Burana, the sixth NAC Orchestra Bostonian Bravo Series concert of the season at the National Arts Centre on March 8-9

In the sixth Bostonian Bravo Series concert of the 2011-2012 season, conductor Diego Matheuz leads the National Arts Centre Orchestra and a superb roster of singers in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. The program also includes music by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály and Mexican composer Arturo Márquez. Carmina Burana is at 8 p.m. in the NAC’s Southam Hall on Thursday March 8 and Friday March 9, 2012.

PRE-CONCERT CHAT with William Littler and Paul Lefebvre –7 p.m.
(in English) “Carmina Burana: Wine, Women and Song in the Medieval Manner”

The program for the evening includes:
KODÁLY  Dances of Galánta
MARQUEZ  Danzon No. 2 for orchestra
ORFF   Carmina Burana

Carmina Burana, Carl Orff’s riveting modern masterpiece for soloists, chorus and orchestra illuminates the sensuality and satire in these now-famous 13th century poems. Soprano Erin Wall, countertenor Daniel Taylor, and baritone Russell Braun are joined by the combined forces of the Ottawa Choral Society, the 60-voice Cantata Singers of Ottawa, the Ewashko Singers, Ottawa Festival Chorus, and the Ottawa Cathedral Children’s Choir. Grammy Award winner Duain Wolfe is Chorusmaster and Laurence Ewashko is Associate Chorusmaster.

Carmina Burana – one of the best-known musical works of the twentieth century -- explores the human condition with dark humour, irreverence, and lust for life. From tender love to explicit eroticism, from the beauty of nature to human mortality and the power of fate, Carmina Burana combines music and song in an event of exuberant and uninhibited theatrical power. Carmina Burana: Secular Songs for soloist and chorus with Accompanying Instruments and Magic Tableux (Songs from Benediktbeuern) was composed by Carl Orff in 1937, inspired by 13th-century manuscripts discovered in a Bavarian monastery in 1803. From this collection of two hundred songs -- complete with bawdy and  blasphemous lyrics written by minstrels, defrocked monks, and vagrant students “better known for their rioting, gambling, and intemperance than for their scholarship” -- Carl Orff selected twenty-five of the most powerful. Carmina Burana uses simple melodies and distinctive driving rhythms -- often punctuated with moments of raw power – to invoke the vagaries of love and the Wheel of Fortune which controls man’s destiny. Composed in only a few weeks, Orff described Carmina Burana as “total theatre”. Though often now presented unstaged, the work was originally intended to be semi-theatrical, complete with dance sequences -- hence Orff’s instruction of ‘Magic Tableux’. Carmina Burana is barbaric and pagan -- and very potent.

Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) wrote his Galántai táncok (Dances of Galánta) for the 80th anniversary of the Budapest Philharmonic Society in 1933. The composer had made it his life’s work to study the folk music of his native Hungary and to write original compositions inspired by the folk tradition. Dances of Galánta held deep personal meaning for the composer, for the town of Galánta (in Northern Hungary, now Slovakia) was the place where he had grown up, learned folksongs, and been introduced to Western classical music. Forty-odd years after his childhood encounter with the Galánta dances, Kodály returned to them as a mature composer and a leading scholar of Hungarian musical traditions. The style of these dances is known as verbunkos, from the German Werbung (recruitment), the dominant Hungarian instrumental tradition of the 19th century. Kodály gave the various verbunkos melodies some exquisite musical coloring and arranged them in a masterful sequence with alternating moods and tempos.

Danzón No. 2 for orchestra is by prominent Mexican composer Arturo Márquez. One of the most popular and frequently performed Mexican contemporary classical music compositions, Danzón no. 2 was commissioned by the National Autonomous University of Mexico and was debuted in 1994 in Mexico City by the Orchestra Filarmonica de la UNAM under the direction of Francisco Savin. The piece focuses on the accents rather than the time signatures; thus the tempo might seem to vary even though it doesn’t, and the precision in every measure remains constant. Danzón No. 2 for orchestra expresses and reflects on a dance style called Danzón, which has its origins in Cuba but is a very important part of the folklore of the Mexican state of Veracruz. Indeed, Márquez got his inspiration for this piece while visiting a ballroom in Veracruz.

Carmina Burana will be performed in Southam Hall of the National Arts Centre on Thursday March 8 and Friday March 9, 2012 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.45, $31.21, $42.51, $53.81, $64.57, $75.33, and $94.17, for adults and $11.38, $16.76, $22.41, $28.06, $33.44, $38.82, and $48.24 for students (upon presentation of a valid student ID card). Tickets are available at the NAC Box Office (in person) and through Ticketmaster (with surcharges) at 613-755-1111; Ticketmaster may also be accessed through the NAC’s website

Subject to availability, full-time students (aged 13-29) with valid Trinity Live Rush™ membership (free registration at may buy up to 2 tickets per performance at the discount price of $12 per ticket. Tickets are available online ( or at the NAC box office from 10 a.m. on the day before the performance until 6 p.m. on the day of the show or 2 hours before a matinee. Groups of 10 or more save 15% to 20% off regular ticket prices to all NAC Music, Theatre and Dance performances; to reserve your seats, call 613-947-7000, ext. 634 or e-mail

Discover the new NACmusicbox TIMELINE: 200 orchestral works, 80 Canadian compositions, 1 interactive TIMELINE that provides a visual representation of our rare online archival collection and encourages the exploration of music connections. The NACmusicbox TIMELINE has been specifically designed to showcase the works of Canadian composers within the history of orchestral music and offers cross-curricular content with classroom-ready activities and lesson plans developed by teachers for teachers. Visit today.
The National Arts Centre gratefully acknowledges the financial investment by the Department of Canadian Heritage in the creation of this online presentation for the Virtual Museum of Canada.
We also thank our partner CBC Radio 2 for generously providing broadcast-quality recordings of the NAC Orchestra’s archival performances.

For additional information, visit the NAC website at
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Gerald Morris
Communications Officer, NAC Music
613-947-7000, ext. 335