Sir Simon Rattle conducts “Carmina Burana”
31 Dec 2004
New Year’s Eve Concert
Sir Simon Rattle
Ludwig van Beethoven
Leonora Overture No. 3 in C major, op. 72a (16 min.)
Carmina burana (63 min.)
Sally Matthews Sopran, Lawrence Brownlee Tenor, Christian Gerhaher Baß, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Boys of the Staats- und Domchor Berlin
George Frideric Handel
Messiah: “Halleluja” (8 min.)
No other moment in the year is as magical as the end of the old year and the start of the new one, with its promise of a new beginning in the form of a virgin calendar: the deck of cards has suddenly been freshly shuffled. What could be more obvious than to ring in the new year with an appeal to the goddess Fortuna? And this is precisely what happened at the New Year’s Eve Concert on 31 December 2004, when Sir Simon Rattle conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker in a performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Orff’s cantata is a setting of often highly profane medieval poems named after the Abbey of Benediktbeuren, where these “Songs of Beuren” were discovered. Written in a mixture of Latin and Middle High German, they graphically hymn the pleasures of eating, drinking, gambling and loving, encouraging Orff to create the musical equivalent of a brightly coloured illustrated broadsheet whose verve and range of colour have turned this into one of the most frequently performed works of the 20th century.
At the Philharmoniker’s New Year’s Eve Concert in 2004, the critic of Der Tagesspiegel was impressed most of all by “the instrumental colours of the orchestral musicians, by the sound mixtures produced by the chorus and by the seductive skills of the soloists …. A trained percussionist, Simon Rattle was able to unleash forces that time and again recalled Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring: a springtime festival that ends on a positive note.” The concert’s no less festive framework was provided by Beethoven’s jubilant Leonore Overture No. 3 and, as a splendid end to the evening, the “Hallelujah” Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
© 2004 EuroArts Music International
Available on DVD and Blu-ray from EuroArts
Christian Gerhaher appears by courtesy of Sony Classical.