Carmina Burana is a scenic cantata composed by Carl Orff in 1935 and 1936, based on 24 poems from the medieval collection Carmina Burana. Carmina Burana is part of Trionfi, a musical triptych that also includes Catulli Carmina and Trionfo di Afrodite. The first and last movements of the piece are called Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi (“Fortune, Empress of the World”) and start with the very well known “O Fortuna”.
The selection covers a wide range of topics, as familiar in the 13th century as they are in the 21st century: the fickleness of fortune and wealth, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of Spring, and the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust.
Carmina Burana was first staged in Frankfurt by the Frankfurt Opera on 8 June 1937 under conductor Bertil Wetzelsberger (1892–1967) with the Cäcilienchor Frankfurt and was a greatly successful premiere; several performances were repeated elsewhere in Germany. The Nazi regime was at first nervous about the erotic tone of some of the poems, but eventually embraced the piece. It became the most famous piece of music composed in Germany at the time. The popularity of the work continued to rise after the war, and by the 1960s Carmina Burana was well established as part of the international classic repertoire.
Sunrise Mass is a Symphonic Mass for choir and string orchestra. The piece is composed by Ola Gjeilo, (born May 5, 1978) who is a Norwegian composer and pianist, living in the United States. Gjeilo writes choral music, and has written for piano and wind symphony.
Sunrise mass was performed by Majorstua Chamber Choir, live premiere recording (2008) with 24 strings, conducted by Tore Erik Mohn.
Wicklow Choral Society performed both of these works for our Summer Concert May 2016.