About this Recording
8.570242 - ORFF: Carmina Burana Suite / BIRD: Serenade / REED: La fiesta mexicana

Carl Orff (1895-1982): Carmina Burana
Arthur Bird (1856-1923): Serenade for Wind Instruments, Op. 40
Herbert Owen Reed (b. 1910): La Fiesta Mexicana


Carl Orff (1895-1982): Carmina Burana (Cantiones Profanae) (1936)
Suite, arranged for Concert band by John Krance

The original score of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, subtitled "Profane songs for singers and vocal chorus with instruments and magical pictures", calls for vocal soloists, three choirs, and large orchestra. The band arrangement, however, is entirely instrumental in concept, the vocal music having been fully incorporated into the band itself.

Orff derived the inspiration and texts for his score from the anthology of songs and poems written in medieval Latin, German, and French by goliards, vagrant scholars, vagabond poets, and wandering monks of seven hundred years ago. Containing approximately two hundred songs and poems, both sacred and secular, the manuscript ranged in style and content from earthly simplicity to sophisticated symbolism, from religious contemplation to unabashed worldliness. The texts are frank avowals of the earthly pleasures: eating, drinking, gambling, love-making; the beauty of life and glorious springtime. Orff exhilarates us with throbbing rhythms and battering-ram tunes, and moves us with chaste tenderness and heartfelt simplicity.

Band Music Notes and Thomas Giles



Arthur Bird (1856-1923): Serenade for Wind Instruments, Op. 40 (1898)
Edited by Gunther Schuller

Arthur Bird's Serenade, Op. 40 was written in 1898 for two flutes, two clarinets, two bassoons, and two horns. It won the Paderewski Prize as the best chamber work by an American in 1901 and was first performed in Boston by Georges Longy and his Woodwind Club on 31 March 1902.

The first movement, Allegro moderato, is in sonata-allegro form with fine thematic contrast, a brief development section, and a coda. The Adagio features english horn and is followed by an Allegro assai. The Allegro energico has a fugato which is both contrapuntal and melodic.

Jim Cochran, Program notes, Steve Rogers and Frank Wickes



Herbert Owen Reed (b. 1910): La Fiesta Mexicana (1954)
A Mexican Folk Song Symphony for Concert Band

La Fiesta Mexicana, subtitled A Mexican Folk Song Symphony for Concert Band, was written after Herbert Owen Reed had spent a year in Mexico on a Guggenheim Fellowship studying folk-music and composing. The entire work depicts a religious festival dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it faithfully represents all of the contrasts and contradictions of these festivals. It is both serious and comical, festive and solemn, devout and pagan, boisterous and tender. The first movement is a prelude and Aztec dance, opening with the traditional pealing of the church bells and the noise of fireworks announcing the beginning of the fiesta. The main part of the movement represents a midday parade (announced by the trumpets) featuring a group of brilliantly plumed and masked Aztec dancers who dance with increasing frenzy to a dramatic climax. The second movement, entitled Mass, is of a serious liturgical nature. The principal theme is chant-like and is set amid coloristic sections representing the tolling of church bells. The last movement, Carnival, is given over to unceasing entertainment and celebration. At the beginning of the movement we hear the itinerant circus, then the market, the bullfight, the town band, and finally, the cantinas with their band of mariachis.

Band Music Notes, Gene A. Braught and H. Owen Reed

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