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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Carmina Burana

Cover for the original score
Without doubt one of the most recognizable opening themes of any score ever, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana was first performed in Frankfurt on June 6, 1937.  While the opening and closing bars are so completely famous, in between there is so much more to enjoy, full of rich choral work and great moments for the soprano, tenor and baritone soloists.  

It's been performed in many different incarnations, from ballet, to concert versions and operatic stagings showing the versatility of the score and it's remarkable popularity.  It's hard to deny it's impact when listening to it live in a concert hall, that's for sure.  Who can ever forget it's use as the soundtrack for the cherry orchard scene in the movie Excalibur?

There are so many recordings in the catalogue, it's almost an embarrassment of riches.  My favourite recording and the first one I owned on LP, which is now pretty much the only one I listen to, is the Deutsche Grammophon recording from 1968 featuring Gundula Janowitz, Gerhard Stolze and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau with the German State Opera Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Eugene Jochum.  It's won many prizes over the years and I doubt it's ever left the catalogue.

Below we have a complete concert version with Seiji Ozawa conducting the Berlin Philharmonic with Kathleen Battle, Thomas Allen and Frank Lopardo as the soloists.  It's a great way to celebrate the weekend, enjoy.






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