A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

You’ve heard it in movies, TV shows and commercials. Those pounding drums and gorgeous chorale voices that open dramatically, suddenly drop to a whisper and then build to a stunning crescendo — all in about two minutes. I’m talking about the distinctive and stirring piece of music called “O Fortuna,” one of the 25 movements (all clocking in somewhere between one minute and three and a half minutes) of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” If you’ve never heard it live, now is your chance to experience a seminal performance from the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Walt Disney Concert Hall on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.

Even better, you can check it out for free by entering our giveaway. Email editor@culturespotla.com with “Carmina Burana” in the subject line for a chance to win a pair of tickets to the concert on Saturday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m.

It’s either unlikely or absolutely fitting that Orff’s 1936 work is the most recognized choral work of the 20th century and a staple of popular culture. (It’s also been covered and sampled a lot; the Doors’ Ray Manzarek even produced a “Carmina Burana” album.) “Carmina Burana” is a collection of dynamic songs based on medieval writings by poets, defrocked monks, vagabond scholars and minstrels on bawdy and irreverent themes — like drinking, gambling and lust.

It’s a pretty impressive piece to hear live, and the acoustics at Disney Hall will make this concert all the more fantastic. Plus, the Master Chorale is not just any ensemble — it is among the world’s preeminent choirs, hailed as both a virtuosic symphonic chorus and a masterful a cappella tour de force. Led by vibrant music director Grant Gershon, the Grammy-nominated Master Chorale is celebrating its 50th season.

The performances will feature 115 singers (spotlighting Chorale member Timothy Gonzales, tenor), symphonic orchestra, the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus and guest soloists Stacey Tappan, a “mellifluous” soprano (Wall Street Journal), and José Adán Pérez, a “glorious baritone” (Bach Track). Verdi’s lush “Te Deum,” for double chorus and orchestra with roots in polyphony and Gregorian chant, opens the program.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., LA 90012. For tickets and information, (213) 972-7282 or www.lamc.org. (Tickets cannot be purchased at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office except on concert days starting two hours prior to the performance.)