Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Carl Orf - Carmina Burana O Fortuna

The only things I have ever cheated on is death.

I’ll be twenty-five years of age tomorrow, so take that world, better luck next time.

It’s funny some of things you don’t think about when they are not important to you.

One thing I am lucky to have is a quite a collection of good friends. My oldest friend Craig Kemery, whom I have now known for eighteen years now, most of my life even, did me the gracious favor of taking me to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on the fifth. It occurs to me this is the first actual birthday gift I have received probably since high school or earlier, but like I said its funny the things you don’t think about when they aren’t important to you, and I don’t see the big deal about birthdays. The Trans Siberian Orchestra lived up to all my expectation and was an amazing show, so thank you Craig, thank you very much for that.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra as you may remember back in December 2007 music in review are awesome, almost unbelievably so. The general gist of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra was that Savatage lead man, Jon Oliva was struggling with the loss of his younger brother and Savatage band mate Criss’s death, wanted to find a way to embellish himself with work that was truly uplifting. Which is a far better solution to one’s problems then dwelling in misery. If you want to focus on something happy, what’s happier then rock and roll Christmas? So Jon teamed up with long time friends Paul O’Neill and Robert Kinkel and proceeded to rock the house.

To say the show was awesome would be a gross understatement, I’ve seen many musicians, bands, and groups, and I can honestly say if this was not the very best live performance I’ve ever seen then it was at least the most professional and worth while. Most groups will perform for maybe two hours, and you’re lucky to get two hours. Most groups make you sit through at least one opening group, which is almost never any, good. Most groups do very little other then simply play their songs and get out of there. Well the Trans-Siberian Orchestra didn’t do anything like that, they rocked out for nearly three hours, no breaks, no opening act, and a light show so brilliant the stage crew deserved an award.

The first act, a running story about Christmas, specifically, “An Angel Came Down,” which naturally was the opening song. Some gentlemen with a cool deep voice would narrate between songs giving us some explanation how this angel, watching mankind on Christmas Eve, was related to the various awesome Christmas rock songs we were privileged to hear. It was completely awesome, and I might dare say perfect.

Then act two decided to kick ass!

Not completely revolving around a Christmas theme anymore we are treated to dueling guitars which play Rush and Zeppelin! Dueling pianos which includes Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” At one point one of the four female vocalist just appears no more then ten feet behind Craig and me singing in naria. And one of the guitars and the spunky female violin player are running through the crowd giving people high fives. They played also Beethoven’s fifth and ninth, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and also Savatage classic “Hall of the Mountain King,” as an opening into what is best described as “Satanic Jingle Bells,” then back to “Hall of the Mountain King.” Just when I thought it was safe to stop being in awe, they did it, they played “O Fortuna.”

For those of you don’t know “O Fortuna” proceeded to stab yourself in the face with a pencil.

Carl Orf is my favorite composer, I really enjoy Mozart, and all the other classic geniuses, but I really like Orf, and primarily because of “O Fortuna.” As near as I know Orf only composed one solid piece of work the “Carmina Burana.” Carmina Burana is a collection of old Germanic, gothic, and other old folk music from Germany and surrounding area, and most of this music would probably have been lost to the ages if not for Carl Orf.

Carl Orf not unlike German philosopher and writer Neitzschen, in it that long after they were dead the Nazi’s used their work to show off how awesome Germans are. Using those works, there is a solid argument for the German ego, unfortunately that is a far away tangent as to why everyone else deserves to be conquered and/or slaughtered.

Anyway enough round about stories about how awesome my week has been, this month Carl Orf – “O Fortuna.” One of the greatest pieces of classical music every, and arguably these greatest.

I can assure you the Trans-Siberian Orchestra did Mr. Orf justice in their performance, in fact here are two videos I found on youtube of performance four days and three days prior to Craig and me seeing them.

The first one has better video of the group, and the second is a better quality recording of the sound, so do yourself a favor and watch both.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly