Fairfax Symphony Plays Piazolla and Orff

By David Matine on May 12, 2014


The Fairfax Symphony played at George Mason University’s Center For The Arts concert hall on May 10th, 2014. They started with Astor Piazolla's tribute to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, which was not so much of a tribute, but his own Brazilian inspired music with traces of Four Seasons infused, as if to tease fans of Vivaldi.

It was interesting to hear because only upon hearing it do you realize that the thought of combining Samba and mid-17th century classical music never occurred to you. That lack of consideration is validated at certain times, however, when you see violinists in tuxedos trying to get down to the beat, and the stand-up bassist is forced to hit the bass strings with his bow like a percussion instrument rather than a stringed instrument. However, lead violinist, Guillermo Figueroa excited us with his charismatic stage presence, and we gave them a warm reception in the end.


Intermission was 15 minutes. At The Center For The Arts in Fairfax, VA beware that you can go outside on the rooftop, for the doors are unlocked, but you won’t be able to come back inside if you let the door shut behind you. Luckily, some art patrons informed me of this just as I was about to walk outside to enjoy the view of the Northern Virginia landscape. I guess you shold stay inside.

Best For Last

After the intermission the symphony came back, but this time it was to get serious. The Samba music was gone, the orchestra had rearranged, and now there were more musicians and instruments on the stage, plus 200 choir singers behind the orchestra. This section included a group of choir children who were symbolically the only ones wearing white, and stood in the middle of the singer’s box. I wondered how their nerves were holding up while facing such an adult crowd.

There were also two empty chairs facing the audience on either side of the composer. Tonight was the conclusion of the symphony’s 2013-14 season, and they were about to perform Carl Orff's Carmina BuranaThe best known piece in this performance is Fortuna, Imperatrix Mundi (Fortune, Empress of the World), which is regularly played in popular culture everywhere on TV shows, commercials, movies, and even video games.

In less than a second after the dramatic music began everyone in the audience forgot about the real world, as this timeless music was amplified by the venue’s powerful speakers and efficient acoustics as it was performed by professional craftsmen of music right before our eyes.

About 30 minutes into the 2nd half of the performance, Philip Cutlip, the well-groomed baritone singer, walked purposefully onto the stage and stood in front of his chair, stage right. He started singing with a carefully controlled tone that takes a lifetime to cultivate and perfect. He led the choir of 200 through a few songs. 

Then he sat, and just as we were wondering who would sit in the chair next to him in walked…

Lady In The Red Dress

What I would later realize was the moment I was waiting for all along was about to happen: the entrance of the lady in red. Like the devil himself, Danielle Talamantes only revealed her power after we are already deeply invested, and for the remainder of the show she stole the attention of everyone in the room with her voice, body movements, and even eye contacts. No one, nothing in sight could compare with her under the lights.

She sang exclusively with the children in some portions of the show as if to show them what their futures could hold. We saw those children grow before our eyes as she led them in front of the 2,000 plus adult audience members to heights they surely have never been to before.

She exited, and came back to take three seperate bows for the clapping audience. After the show ended, we decided it was a good time for pizza. It was a good evening.


About The Author

David Matine is a search engine analyst. He graduated from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, where he has lived most of his life. He came to Colorado to be close to friends and the Rocky Mountains. Visit his Google+

Ingrid Wood, Brielle

Ingrid Wood Flag
about 8 years ago

Ah! Fortuna, Imperatrix Mundi - great piece! http://youtu.be/GD3VsesSBsw


Elizabeth66 Flag
about 5 years ago

I love this one, thanks for sharing!