Saturday, 5 July 2014


“It seems to never occur to fools that merit and good fortune are closely united.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

One of the most famous pieces of music of the 20th century is Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”. Carl Orff (July 10, 1895 – March 29, 1982) was a German composer, who also developed an influential approach toward music education for children. Carmina Burana is a “scenic cantata”, which is rarely performed on stage as intended originally, and is almost universally performed now as a concert piece.

The video here was the dramatic rendition of Carl Orff's most famous piece of music, in the manner he wanted it to look and be sung. It was filmed by West German TV in 1975 with the close co-operation of Orff in honour of his 80th birthday. The various stories of young lust and gluttony are playfully and skilfully brought to life.

This version of Orff's masterpiece of the sacred and profane was hard to find in Germany. Not so strange, it was banned there for decades, most likely because of its almost literal interpretation of the texts Orff put music to. The mixture of Christian and pagan imagery is completely consistent with the lyrics, which were found in a monastery, and are a mixture of sacred and profane songs, but were obviously too tough to swallow…

Director: Jean Pierre Ponnelle; Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Tölzer Knabenchor; Münchner Rundfunkorchester; Lucia Popp (soprano); John van Kesteren (tenor); Hermann Prey (baritone).

1 comment:

  1. Wow! That video is a complete revelation... The subtitles were also extremely helpful. Thank you for uploading this, Nicholas!