Saturday, August 05, 2006

Carmina Burana



It is when you have no expectations and then have a wonderful time that you appreciate the experience the most. This was the case last night with the performance of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana:
Orff's work is based upon 24 poems from a collection of mediƦval poetry called Carmina Burana. The name Carmina Burana means literally Songs of Beuern, where "Beuern" refers to the Benediktbeuern Abbey where the original manuscript was found. When pronounced correctly, the stress in the word Carmina is placed on the first syllable rather than the second as is commonly supposed.

Orff first encountered these texts in John Addington Symond's 1884 publication, Wine, Women, and Song, which included English translations of 46 poems from the collection. Michel Hofmann, a young law student and Latin and Greek enthusiast, assisted Orff in the selection and organization of 24 of these poems into a libretto.

This libretto includes both Latin and Middle High German verse. It covers a wide range of secular topics, as familiar in the 13th century as they are in the 21st century: the fickleness of fortune and wealth, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of Spring, and the pleasures of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust.
I'm sure you'll recognize O Fortuna if you hear it. It is my favorite of the set. I especially liked Chramer, gip die varwe mir due to its soft and subtleness. Olim lacus colueram was just so humorous. And Dies, nox et omnia:
... statim vivus fierem per un baser (...I would be revived by a kiss).
Need I say more?
Carl Orff's Carmina Burana

# Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi (Fortune, Empress of the World)

* 1. O Fortuna
* 2. Fortune plango vulnera

# I. Primo vere (In Springtime)

* 3. Veris leta facies (No strings and only a small chorus)
* 4. Omnia sol temperat
* 5. Ecce gratum

# Uf dem anger (On the Lawn)

* 6. Tanz
* 7. Floret silva nobilis (Small and large choruses)
* 8. Chramer, gip die varwe mir (Small and large choruses) [German]
* 9. Reie [German]
* 10. Were diu werlt alle min [German]

# II. In Taberna (In the Tavern)

* 11. Estuans interius
* 12. Olim lacus colueram (No violins used)
* 13. Ego sum abbas (Only percussion and brass with chorus)
* 14. In taberna quando sumus

# III. Cour d'amours (The Court of Love)

* 15. Amor volat undique (Boys chorus with soprano)
* 16. Dies, nox et omnia
* 17. Stetit puella

* 18. Circa mea pectora
* 19. Si puer cum puellula
* 20. Veni, veni, venias (Double chorus with two pianos and six percussionists)
* 21. In truitina

* 22. Tempus est iocundum (Two pianos, percussion and all vocalists except tenor)
* 23. Dulcissime

# Blanziflor et Helena (Blanziflor and Helena)

* 24. Ave formosissima (Three glockenspiels with independent parts)

# Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi (Fortune, Empress of the World)

* 25. O Fortuna (Fortune, Empress of the World)