16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!
It's sometimes easy to think that all professional recordings of a classical work, by a good orchestra, will sound much the same. How wrong can you be? This is, I think, the fourth or fifth recording of this work I've bought since the late sixties, and it blows all the others out of the water!
Not much else to add, really.
Published on 15 Feb 2011 by John Nevill
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite version.
I searched around for a different version of "Carmina Burana" as a contrast to my favourite touchstone version (conducted by Christian Thielemann and available on Deutsche Grammaphon, ASIN: B00000JSAM). I chose this version because the voices are far clearer and the diction is excellent. However, I was disappointed with the way it was played. To me, after listening to...
Published 4 months ago by Varian Beauregard
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!,
This review is from: Orff: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)It's sometimes easy to think that all professional recordings of a classical work, by a good orchestra, will sound much the same. How wrong can you be? This is, I think, the fourth or fifth recording of this work I've bought since the late sixties, and it blows all the others out of the water!
Not much else to add, really.
159 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Ever Recording of a curious work,
This review is from: Orff: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)Okay, first, for the uninitiated, what is Carmina Burana? It is that piece of music which they play if someone (prizefighters love it) needs a particualrly ostentatious entrance. Those in the UK who remember the Old Spice ads of the 70's and 80's featuring a surfer - that's Carmina Burana; specifically the first and last track "O Fortuna", "Fortune, you are like the moon; waxing and waning, bringing one man good forune and the next man ill luck" being an approximate translation. It is one of those pieces everybody has heard if they watch television or films at all (Oh yes, John Boorman's Excalibur uses a version). So, subtle it ain't? Wrong! - it has some of the most beaufiful, subtle, sophisticated, and charming pieces of music in it. Dulchissimo was never a more appropriately named piece of music (Italian lit. most beautiful) and the Soprano handles it well. Thomas Allen does an excellent job: this is one of the performances that gave him his present fame. Andrew Preview, sorry, André Previn (Morcambe and Wise have a lot to answer for) is superb in his musical direction. The Roasting Swan (for the initiated) is almost too well performed and is a touch over-melodic for my taste, but any tenor seems to think it is his job to sing the part well. They miss Orff's point - the swan is on an open fire and should sound as if being roasted. For those wishing to become initiates then this is the recording to get, providing the sleeve notes are as good as they were uopn its original release which I had stolen. They explain the reasons for why it is part German part French and part Latin and provide all the translations (except for the odd word like Afna, for example). There is mystery, intrigue, and the occult associated with this piece of music. Religious fundamentalists and those offended by paganism avoid this. The setting is in part a drunken pagan feast and orgy. Who said classical music was boring - "felix conjunctio" being a particualry amusing euphemism for sex, which the translation sanitises, sadly. This is a bizarre piece of music with roasting swans singing, Abbots warning ironically against drinking in the middle of a feast (sum abbas) followed in quick order by a drinking song (in taverna), then a romance. The overall theme is the Dharma Chakra, or wheel of life. How Orff has crow-barred this Eastern mysticism into a pseudo-Christian setting, is beyond me. It shouldn't work. It is the most ridiculous pompous idea, founded on a myseriously discovered religious manuscript, so the story goes. However, the joy, energy, and exuberance evident throughout the piece (and clearly enjoyed by every memebr of every chorus and the orchestra right down to the triangle player!) carry it off. I have heard versions of this piece played too fast, too slowly or without paying sufficient attention to the meaning of the lyric. This is the definative recording, just check out a few text books on the subject, and has been for something like twenty years. There is very little wrong with this recording and most of it scores 100% in my book. Buy this work if - a) you are looking for a route into classical music, b) have heard the piece, half enjoyed it, but have never heard this recording, c) because it is a piece of recording history; almost a legend or d) because it is very good indeed.
43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic orchestra, choir, and conductor,
This review is from: Orff: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)This is one of those rare 'blow your socks off' pieces - and you either love it, or hate it. I love it!
This has one of the finest conductors, very skillfully guiding a superb choir and orchestra through all of the demanding requirements from this work. Excellent results all round, and my congratulations to all concerned.
40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carmina Burana - gripping stuff,
This review is from: Orff: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)Carmina Burana is arguably one of the best pieces of music written for choir. Its many pieces cover a huge variety of styles and textures, and the rousing theme, "O Fortuna" has to be one of the most gripping and well-known themes around, used commonly to accompany scenes of horror and terror in TV and film. It is an outstanding piece from a composer who is perhaps less well-known than he should be. The piece is sung in Latin, with occasional German passages, which is probably just as well, as an English version would merit an "18" certificate! (I have it under good authority that the lyrics are very crude indeed) The piece can be dark and harrowing, yet in other sections cheerful and frivolous, and I believe it would be hard to find such an amazing variety of music on one CD. Brilliant.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contains The Magic Words: "Remastered At Abbey Road Studios",
This review is from: Orff: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)I have suddenly discovered a love of classical music and couldn't help remembering 'O Fortuna' from the tv ads of Old Spice aftershave from the 1970s. The conductor, Andre Previn, is famous for being the stooge in the Morcambe & Wise comedy sketch: "...I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order!" My lack of classical music nous led me to a familiar name. The uninitiated always wonders what the difference of interpretation might be between one conductor and another and it is tempting to plump for someone we've heard of - a safe pair of hands.
Some while back, I'd bought a Philips Duo double CD of Previn conducting the LSO performing Elgar's Enigma Variations and the Cello Concerto and played it on a high-end Denon mini-system, I thought it sounded simply awesome.
Whilst waiting for Carmina Burana to arrive in the post, I asked around a couple of friends who are well up in their appreciation of classical music if I had made the right choice. They intimated that although Previn is quite good, he was not at the very top of the game - more a promotion contender from the second division. This surprised me.
Then my CD arrived and I have to say I'm glad I didn't listen to them. The perfomance is beautiful, crisp and clear. Also, it is the London Symphony Orchestra once again, with which Previn did a lot of work. As I said, I like a safe pair of hands. Furthermore, like many classical performances this is a nearly 40 year old analogue recording and as with this whole EMI series, it contains those magic words: "Remastered at Abbey Road Studios".
What is more, I paid just £4.67 for this which I think is wonderful value, but also, I'm glad Andre Previn proved my friends wrong.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favourite version.,
This review is from: Orff: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)I searched around for a different version of "Carmina Burana" as a contrast to my favourite touchstone version (conducted by Christian Thielemann and available on Deutsche Grammaphon, ASIN: B00000JSAM). I chose this version because the voices are far clearer and the diction is excellent. However, I was disappointed with the way it was played. To me, after listening to Thielemann's heavenly and exquisite version, I found this very harsh and some passages were played too fast and sounded rushed. Some may prefer this style. I didn't.
5.0 out of 5 stars what's not to like,
This review is from: Orff: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)this really is an excellent recording of Orf's Carmina Burana, with all the elements cohesively brought together, to make for a very pleasing sound.
5.0 out of 5 stars Still an outstanding top version after many years at the top,
This review is from: Orff: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)This disc, well recorded in 1974, always sounded very well and has long been a reference point for comparisons as a performance. The remastering simply improves an already outstanding product.
Previn takes a generally safe and middle course as regards tempi so on the face of it there seems to be little to make this stand out from the crowd. However, that is to ignore several very special characteristics.
The most important plus point to consider is Previn and his innate feeling for jazz and the rhythmical control and awareness of the need for ebb and flow of tempo within an overall steady beat. It is this flexibility within a tight overall rhythmical grip that makes this Carmina so satisfying musically. Added to that is Previn's gift for showmanship and, in that context, his long standing relationship with the LSO during his very successful series of television programs. This was, and still is, an unusual combination which seems to be perfectly attuned to Orff's composition.
In addition there are two fine soloists at his command. Thomas Allen in particular is a fine choice for this work as he is able to vocally act the part so well. Much the same can be said of Gerald English, the high tenor. Sheila Armstrong makes for a good choice in the Court of Love final section. The main choir and the boy's choir are both excellent with good diction and a very palpable sense of enjoyment in the words as well as the music.
All in all a very special combination of strong factors. I would therefore strongly suggest that this disc still warrants very serious consideration for multiple version collectors or for those interested in an 'only' version. The latest remastering adds a little more warmth and general 'presence' to what was a good original recording.
For those interested in an audio/video presentation there is an arguably even finer 'live' version on DVD with Ozawa conducting the BPO and his Japanese choir. The soloists are superb with Thomas Allen once more, Frank Lopardo as the even more excellent high tenor and the peerless Kathleen Battle as the soprano who really does achieve a sense of sublime ecstasy in her final solo. Ozawa drives harder and the whole thing is truly exhilarating.
5.0 out of 5 stars Carmina burana,
This review is from: Orff: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)A fabulous rendition of this stirring music, takes you off on a journey and leaves the every day world behind as you are always fully absorbed in the music.
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite,
This review is from: Orff: Carmina Burana (Audio CD)Love this piece, and have several versions. Still looking for others. 'In the taverna' is thrilling.
Thank you very much.
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