Carmina Burana

The big percussion stomp announces the approach. High strings and slow, and crazy horns join the doomful-seeming synchronized beat. The chorus, sounding like the end of the world, practically shouts “O Fortuna velut Luna.” It’s the first of twenty-four movements of Carmina Burana and we’re Orff and running, with the opening of one of classical music and, yes, pop culture’s most recognizable anthems, the heavy metal of cantatas. “Oh, Fortune, like the moon… you are changing, ever waxing, ever waning,” we are reminded about mortality and fickle fate, as if we needed reminding. Apparently we do. Composer Carl Orff’s all-too-accessible, if still seriously affecting, setting of a fatalistic 12th century Latin secular text still makes audiences shiver, straighten their backs, sit up straight and confront the riddle of existence in loud, beautiful, enduringly spooky music.

June 5-7, 8 p.m., 2014

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