Review: Crouch End Festival Chorus perform Carmina Burana

Crouch End Fesitval Chorus perform Carmina Burana

Crouch End Fesitval Chorus perform Carmina Burana - Credit: Archant

Schools choirs from Rhodes Avenue and Coldfall primaries accompany the chorus in a rousing performance of Orff’s classic

Crouch End Festival Chorus

Queen Elizabeth Hall

Despite the temptations of a beautiful but sweltering Sunday afternoon, The Queen Elizabeth Hall was packed for an excellent programme by the Crouch End Festival Chorus supported by a children’s choir from Rhodes Avenue and Coldfall Primary Schools.

Stravinsky’s les Noces is less well known but just as strange as the headliner Carmina Burana. Four concert pianos and percussion accompany the four soloists and choir. Ostensibly about the preparations and ceremonies surrounding a Russian peasant wedding, the piece rushes along at a frantic pace carried by music that is imbued with menace and discord.

A musical stream of consciousness that has the feel of an experimental film of the 60s.

After the interval (and by now in great voice and sharing the stage with the children’s choir), the Chorus launched into the Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi – one of the scariest and loudest introductions to any choral work. First shouted then whispered to build a tension with the havoc of the Sors et virtutis, this was CEFC at their full blooded best. The Primo Vere had the feel of canticles from Canterbury and the Bibit chorus the spirit of slinging out time at the Dog and Duck.

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The children had a while to wait before their charming and well measured Oh oh oh totus floreo. Later, seamlessly we were back to the Fortuna. While some in the audience looked terrified, the children took the work in their stride.

Parents and friends were thrilled with the noise they made. Knowing what they had been singing about, it is just as well that Latin has been dropped from most primary school curriculums.