Carl Orff – Carmina Burana by Kevin Olson

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Carl Orff – Carmina Burana
A Scenic Cantata
Robert Shaw conducts the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
I am choosing an old favorite for this month. A very dramatic cantata composed by Carl Orff in 1935-1936.  My experience with cantatas prior to hearing this were all church related. This piece is based on 24 poems from the 11th -13th centuries. This is a secular work and if you read translations of the poems you will see that.
The poems cover topics such as fortune and wealth, the joy of spring, and the pleasures and perils of drinking gluttony, gambling and lust. Good topics all.  The music is joyous, sorrowful, angry, and at times bombastic.
Orff scored the piece for a large orchestra with quite a few added percussion instruments. There are parts for a large choir including a children’s choir and four soloists.
This recording from 1981 on Telarc is my fave, and also the recording that introduced me to this work. Telarc recorded the dynamics quite well, so you are in for a sonic ride. The sound stage is large enough to fit in all the musicians. Your system may be sweating at the end from the workout.
I just looked at Tidal and see twenty plus recordings, but not the Telarc.
This composition might be something you know well or have never heard before. It does not get me dancing, but I have ‘air conducted’ the more exciting parts.
Kevin says check it out.
San Francisco Audiophile Society

San Francisco Audiophile Society