Carmina Burana

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After the incredibly successful premiere of his monumental work Carmina Burana, composer Carl Orff wrote to his publisher, saying: “Everything I have written to date, and which you have, unfortunately, printed, can be destroyed. With Carmina Burana my collected works begin.” It is truly music which has it all: that epic opening that has pervaded pop culture; moments of serenity and love songs; depictions of debaucherous behavior; and so much more.

Written when the composer was 42 years old, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana is music that bears the subtitle “Secular songs to be sung by singers and choruses to the accompaniment of instruments and also of magic pictures.” Constructed of 24 movements, the text and inspiration draws on the original 12th-century Carmina Burana manuscript, the title itself essentially meaning “Songs from Bavaria,” much of which expressed the medieval sentiment of acceptance of a kind of fateful universe: that fortune is represented by a spinning wheel, and this conveys the way man’s fate is at the mercy of the wheel’s whimsy.

This is a work that notoriously traverses into some… well, interesting subject matter, to say the least. True Concord’s program booklet from this concert probably paints the picture best: the poets of Carmina Burana consisted of these kinds of medieval monks called “goliards,” said to have been “better known for their rioting, gambling, and intemperance than for their scholarship.” They wrote of subjects like love, exuberant drinking, sinners’ “confessions,” gluttony, and sensuality – just to name a few topics featured in the work we’re about to hear.

Tune in for a performance by True Concord from April 2021 of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana on the next Arizona Encore.

Orff - Carmina Burana - True Concord; Eric Holtan, conductor; Hugh Russell, baritone; Patrick Muehleise, tenor; Chelsea Helm, soprano

Fortuna, Imperatrix Mundi: O Fortuna

Fortune plango vulnera

Primo vere: Veris leta facies

Omnia Sol temperat

Ecce gratum

Uf dem anger: Tanz

Floret silva nobilis

Swaz hie gat umbe

Were diu werlt alle min

In Taberna: Estuans interius

Olim lacus colueram

Ego sum abbas

In taberna quando sumus

Cour d'amours: Amor volat undique

Dies, nox et omnia

Stetit puella

Circa mea pectora

Si puer cum puellula

Veni, veni, venias

In trutina

Tempus est iocundum

Dulcissime

Blanziflor et Helena: Ave formosissima

Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi: O Fortuna

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