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Orff : Carmina Burana

Orff : Carmina Burana

1 Jan 1993
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 1993
  • Release Date: 17 Dec. 2012
  • Label: Warner Classics International
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:00:10
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00AJKQPQE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,517 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Dare I suggest that given a good conductor, an enthusiastic, well-trained choir and a competent orchestra, this piece is not that hard to pull off on disc? I mean no disrespect to the music or the performers by saying so, but I own three equally good recordings and know of half a dozen more which give similar pleasure. Either that, or it has been very lucky on disc; either way, this is another fine addition to the discography. The sound is clean and vivid, Mehta paces everything beautifully and the soloists are first rate - especially Sumi Jo (although her sustained lower notes are not as secure as other sopranos' - it's in the stratosphere that she excels). Bo Skovhus is in the same mould as Håken Hakegård: a virile, incisive bariton-martin with an extended upper range, although I think the older artist still has the edge in the Mata recording. I like Kowalski's alto version of the roasted swan-song, although for real vocal thrills I commend John Aler's full-voice account (again on the Mata disc): an extraordinary feat, as it never sounds strained, just pained! A third way of doing this "aria" is Gerhard Unger's method on the famous de Burgos recording: he slips into falsetto when required. I like all three ways of doing it, but admire and enjoy Aler most of all. De Burgos also employs two different baritones: one for the more robust, declamatory bits and another for the laments with the higher tessitura; that works too, especially with two such good singers as John Noble and Raymond Wolansky. That recording also has the lovely Lucia Popp, whose sustained breath is a thing of beauty, but Barabara Hendricks and Sumi Jo are equally impressive in their different ways.Read more ›
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Every collection needs a performance of this work! Exciting, vivacious, brash, even comical, but also tender and touching in places, Carl Orff's masterpiece is deservedly well-loved and much performed. But is this performance THE one to go for?

Recorded by Decca at the Snape Maltings (the home of Aldeburgh Festival) in 1992, here is an eclectic gathering of talent: Zubin Mehta, a front-rank conductor over many decades, here with a display of both energy and restraint, the legendary London Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, the prolific South Korean Soprano Sumi Jo, and two slightly lesser-known but nevertheless very accomplished international soloists: Alto/counter-tenor Jochen Kowalski and Danish Baritone Boje Skovhus.

The Apex CD is digitally recorded, mastered and produced, and offers a sound which is equal to the performance: dynamic, detailed, and spacious. The choir, soloists and orchestra have a balance which is hard to fault (although in pure realism terms the soloists are several dB more prominent than they would be in a live performance, but not intrusively so). I will always wish that the tam-tam player had been allowed a little more welly at the start of the reprise of O Fortuna: I have been forever spoilt in that respect by the Previn / LSO version. Similarly, after Gerald English's "Song of the Roasted Swan" I feel that nobody pulls this off with quite such exquisite theatricality, though here, Kowalski does at least convey considerable angst. The soprano takes everything in her stride but, along with many others, her diction fails her somewhat when stretched to the upper limit in "Dulcissime".

Overall, no major complaints. Recommended, but of course you do need good equipment to get the best out of it.
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Carmina Burana is not a work that is easily well recorded.
Similarly, this London Philharmonic version under Zubin Mehta does not escape the fate of an 'ill-recorded' performance.
The soloists are simply miked too far away - way too far.
Sumi Jo suffers in particular, given the light-weight of her soprano.
Hers isn't the best of lirico leggiero sopranos - the timbre is whitish, though admittedly agile and well articulated. The aria with the girls could have been more spirited and joyous.
The strength of this recording lies in the two male soloists.
Given the scarcity in liner notes, I am unable to tell who is who - is the falsetto tenor singing ALL the falsetto arias, or was he alternating with the baritone? Boje Skovhus was fully capable of tackling BOTH the hefty bits and the high-lying tessituras back in 2000.
The choir sung well, but not exceptionally so.
All in all, a competent performance, which, with better recording, could have been rated higher.
The soloists in particular are worthy of credit. The young Skovhus being exceptional among the three.
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