Orff: Carmina Burana CD
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RATTLE SIMON / BERLIN P. O.
Top Customer Reviews
Based on medieval manuscripts discovered in 1803, these are the ribald poems of some not particularly chaste, German monks. They celebrate the earth, alcohol, and life, with more than a passing reference to sex. (There is a useful little booklet inserted into this CD which gives you the words - alternatively, several websites offer translations ... just type 'carmina burana' into your chosen search engine.) Carl Orff came across them in 1934, and, though he seems to have rapidly penned a number of arrangements, the first performance of his "Carmina Burana" was in Frankfurt, in 1937.
Orff famously described his music as "total theatre". There is no doubt, the "Carmina Burana" is a dramatic, theatrical piece. As a concert performance, it has a visual appeal which few other musical works can emulate as both orchestra and choir become swept up in the spectacle from the very first "Oh Fortuna". Those opening words seize your attention ... and then you are led into the intimacy of the piece as the voices fade almost to silence. When you want people to listen to what you are saying, don't shout ... whisper. Orff is a master of this technique, soothing you into a calm and then taking your breath away.
The musicians, too, conspire to surprise.Read more ›
I would not repeat his other points but would add that the perception on this DDD recording is that the engineers missed the point:
The explosion of dynamic is tamed and quite severely tamed; the very deep bass struck are reduced in impact. The sound-field is taken from some distance from the microphone which leads to overall barriers when trying to "penetrate" (to critically listen to) the sound.
There is however one nice plus to this recording and that is the Tenor soloist (the swan on the pyre song); the young Lawrence Brownee who sings all of his notes without having to resort to the falsetto Kopff-tone. The way he accomplished that makes his passage unforgettable; all of the other tenors in all of the other various recordings stray into the falsetto territory when encountered by the high notes and does not sound very convincing by way of presenting this swan-song.
Of all of the Carmina(s) heard, and those are quite numerous, the one that stands out would be the Rafael de Burgos (EMI, recorded in 1965) a recording that now enjoys a good digital transfer for the orchestra, the choir, and the soloists, also this Burgos has the wonderful clear-voice, perfectly pitched and long breath of the soprano Lucia Popp...!
Certainly the opening statement and the closing statement with Fruhbeck de Burgos are not rushed but built up full of tension and attraction, which is obvious also along all of the tracks.
In closing: Very recommended is the Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos EMI - ADD recording which has clear dynamic and focused, while less recommended is this DDD Berlin/Rattle affair, no matter the "advanced" technology was used.
Well, it just feels rushed. The quieter moments are fine, with a delicious "In trutina" (much of the court of love scenes work well, in fact), but the faster pieces are chivvied along unsympathetically. The opening "O Fortuna" in particular is hurried along at the expense of grandeur, and the glorious "Blanziflor et Helena" is over before you know it - no sense of a climax being achieved, more a sprint to the finishing line.
Maybe Rattle doesn't have a natural affinity with the piece, or maybe the exhilaration of the live occasion led all concerned to just go for it, but for whatever reason this doesn't do Orff any favours. What a disappointment.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderful recording at a reasonable price. If you love Carmina Burana, I recommend this recording.Published on 23 Aug. 2014 by Vivienne Chandler
Great album very nice music to relax to.
I love this music very powerful and easy listening .