Arthur Post has a knack for picking just the right music to fit a mood, and this time even Mother Nature is on his side.
On Saturday and Sunday, the musical director and conductor of the San Juan Symphony will lead the largest assemblage of musicians in the symphonys 25-year history in a program that perfectly matches what is expected to be a picture-perfect springtime weekend in the Rockies.
Passions and Fate promises to be an upbeat and fun-filled evening of music (or afternoon, if you plan to catch the Farmington version Sunday) with selections from Joseph Canteloubes Songs of the Auvergne and Carl Orffs eponymous Carmina Burana to be played back-to-back separated by an intermission.
Its lighthearted music for springtime of young men and women in the bloom of their youth, Post said of the program in his opening remarks Wednesday at the Durango Arts Center during his regular Musically Speaking preview.
Soprano Gemma Kavanagh will be the featured soloist for the Auvergne selections, which are sung in the Langue doc of the French region. A program insert will allow patrons to follow along with the pieces, which Post described as French folk peasant music for example, Dont drink the water from the well, itll kill you; drink the wine.
As for Carmina, the work needs no introduction, as the opening O Fortuna is among the most recognizable pieces in popular classical music. Written by Orff in fervent prewar 1930s Germany, hearing the sweeping orchestral and choral collaboration conjures disturbing images of goose-stepping SS troops, which is an odd beginning considering where Carmina goes from there. The mood shifts quickly to a lilting Primo vere that welcomes spring with piccolos, triangles and flutes.
Thats followed by equally uplifting movements that take listeners out to the country, into a tavern and deeply into young love and even lust.
Because Carmina was written entirely in German and French with lyrics taken from 12th century poetry texts, the translation insert also is an indispensable item for Act 2 of Passions and Fate. Bringing his Wheel of Fortune full circle, Orff opted to close Carmina the way he started, reprising O Fortuna for a dramatic finish.
This season finale is the Symphonys annual Choirs Concert, and for Carmina Burana the Symphonys numbers will be swelled by singers from the Durango Choral Society, directed as always by Linda Mack-Berven, and Farmingtons Caliente, under the direction of Virginia Nickels-Hircock.
Adding up the musicians, singers, soloists and Post himself, Symphony Executive Director Kathy Myrick put the total head count at 242 players who will be onstage during Carmina. Post said the huge production in three different languages strains conductor, singer and musician alike.
We love to do it but in rehearsing, no will say its a good time, Post said. We do it because its worth it.