Orff: Carmina Burana - 1000 Years of Classical Music Vol. 84 (CD)

ABC Classics & Jazz
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Carl Orff brings the Middle Ages into the modern era with Carmina Burana, one of the best-loved choral works of the 20th century, and an exuberant celebration of the power of music’s simplest yet most versatile building blocks: beautiful melody, and raw rhythm.

The title Carmina Burana means ‘Songs from Benediktbeuern’ and refers to a medieval collection of poetry written by travelling scholars and clerics. (Benediktbeuern is the name of the town in southern Germany in whose abbey the manuscript was found.) Some of the poems are in Latin, some are in medieval German or French, and some are in a mixture of languages.

The themes of the poems range from the worldly to the downright earthy: the cruel randomness of Fate, the joys of Spring and the beauty of nature, and the pleasures (and perils!) of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust. Orff uses elements from medieval music — flowing melodic lines in the style of Gregorian plainsong, and simple harmonies (sometimes just a single, long-held bass note, or ‘drone’) — to evoke the world of the medieval poets.

Carmina Burana was originally written (in 1936) for choirs, soloists and large orchestra. Twenty years later, Orff authorised a smaller-scale version which uses two pianos and an extensive battery of percussion, instead of a full orchestra, thus accentuating the rhythmic energy of the music; it is this version which is recorded here.

This album is part of 1000 Years of Classical Music – a series of 100 volumes charting the history of music to be released on ABC Classics. Click here to view other titles in this series on our website.

More information can be found at the project’s website 1000 Years of Classical Music.

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Carl Orff: Carmina Burana: Edition for voices, two pianos and percussion

O Fortuna
Fortune plango vulnera
Veris leta facies
IV. Omnia sol temperat
Ecce gratum
Floret Silva Nobilis
Chramer, gip die Varwe mir
Were diu Werlt alle min
Estuans interius
Olim lacus colueram
Ego sum abbas
In taberna quando sumus
Amor volat undique
Dies, nox et omnia
Stetit puella
Circa mea pectora
Si puer cum puellula
Veni, veni, venias
In trutina
Tempus est iocundum
Ave formosissima
O Fortuna

Sara Macliver
Paul McMahon
Jonathan Summers


Synergy Percussion


Australian Virtuosi (Michael Kieran Harvey & Bernadette Harvey)


Sydney Children’s Choir
Antony Walker