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NJSO opens season with ‘Carmina Burana’

Just a few days after announcing that he will leave the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the end of its 2015-16 season, music director Jacques Lacombe was at the conductor’s podium for the symphony’s 2014-2015 season-opening concerts in Newark, New Brunswick and Morristown that took place this weekend. I attended the Sunday afternoon concert at Morristown’s Mayo Performing Arts Center and can’t say I spent much time thinking about the orchestra’s future, as I was too busy enjoying its present. Lacombe and the orchestra — with the help of the Westminster Symphonic Choir, soprano Aline Kutan, tenor Jean-Francis Monvoisin and baritone Jonathan Beyer — gave Carl Orff’s hour-long Carmina Burana the rich, epic treatment it requires. While the opening “O Fortuna” chorus of Carmina Burana (repeated at its end), which seems to contain an element of supernatural force, is its most famous part, the piece is actually a long, winding journey, touching on all kinds of human experiences, from grubby tavern-going to rapturous love. Appropriately, the orchestra played the more aggressive passages with pulse-pounding energy but also shifted gears for the more ethereal or earthily humorous passages. Continue Reading →

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