by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural & Valerie Milano
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 3/20/17 –
VOX Femina Performs at the First Congregational Church
On Sunday, March 19th, 2017 from 4 to 6 p.m. the acclaimed women’s choral ensemble VOX Femina presented a concert called Sacred & Profane featuring selections from Carl Orff’s beloved masterwork Carmina Burana during the second hour. The performance was fittingly showcased at the historic First Congregational Church located at 540 South Commonwealth Avenue in Los Angeles.
Sacred & Profane was directed by VOX Femina’s Founder and Artistic Director Dr. Iris S. Levine. It featured lively performances by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, the Culver City Middle School Voicestra Choir, FCCLA’s Christoph Bull on the world’s largest pipe organ, and soloists Tamara Bevard, Abdiel Gonzalez, and Brandon Brack.
Named a California District Non-Profit of the Year in 2016 and widely lauded for their tremendous vocal talents, VOX Femina (Latin for “female voice”) commemorates its 20th anniversary season of giving women voice through music this year. Dr. Levine chose Carmina Burana to be “celebratory” since it includes male performers.
Carmina Burana has always been one of this reporter’s personal favorite pieces of world music. As an elementary school student she was privileged to play her own percussive compositions with a very gifted group of aspiring young talents during a wonderful Orff musical enrichment class as part of the California MGM program in San Diego, CA.
Carl Orff composed Carmina Burana in 1935-1936, basing it upon twenty-four songs from a notorious medieval manuscript collection dedicated to revelry and sins of the flesh. Carmina Burana’s licentious lyrics and inventive orchestration making use of many rare percussion instruments have helped to establish the piece as an indelible part of the international classical repertoire.
The central image of the Wheel of Fortune, later popularized in a well-known American game show, is the work’s most important motif. Few can forget the Chorus’s howl of existential despair from the beginning and ending of Carmina Burana: “Fate is against me. . .everyone weep with me!”
Yet great delight awaits any listener willing to succumb to Orff’s blithely erotic harmonies. Affirm life as it is with Carmina Burana and VOX Femina!