Not only is this generally one of the most recognizable pieces of classical music the production and sound quality of this particular CD/ performance is world class. I looked long and hard for a good copy and this really must be one of the best
This recording of Carmina Burana with Levine and Chicago turns out to be a surprising winner as far as recordings of this work is concerned. Though the Penguin Guide reviewers were not enthusiastic, I know that this is an excellent performance that can measure up to the Jochum DG recording.
This performance is quite polished and lusty. Some people may complain about the "rough" character of the performance, but it suits the bawdy character of the score. Even so the chorus and orchestra are well-drilled and responsive to the conducting.
Levine adopts a cracking pace for the brisk sections such as the opening Fortuna choruses, Ecce gratum and In taberna quando sumus. I really like the sharp, crisp attack and diction in the orchestra and the choral singing. However, he expands the tempo in the slower sections and doesn't plod the music to a crawl. I tend to like the pacing better than the pacing on the EMI Previn/LSO recording with Armstrong and Allen. There is more energy in this Levine recording compared to the EMI Previn version. In spite of the good reviews of Previn's EMI version in the Penguin Guide and Gramophone, I found that version rather laid-back.
Levine benefits from some marvellous soloists. Bernd Weikl is appropriately gruff as the drunken abbot and manages the solos in the Spring section sweetly. Philip Creech turns in an excellent rendition of the Roasted Swan solo. Other Amazon reviewers have noted that it is here sung as a strained tenor rather than as a falsetto. June Anderson has a pure tone that floats effortlessly through the Court of Love section. The solos in Amor volat undique, Stetit puella and In trutina are pure, honest and simple. I think they all work well together as a team and with the excellent choruses.
I think this is an excellent Carmina Burana, and it comes off in an incisive, drmaatic performance that measures up very well. The sound quality is excellent too because the DG engineers achieve a strong, powerful yet detailed sound.
Superb! The music is crystal clear and supports the choir perfectly - rather than being overwhelmed with 'noise' you can hear individual instruments and the timing of the conducting is spot on! The songs blend together seamlessly and you are transported on a beautiful journey of emotions through the story. Ideal for listening anytime and always guaranteed to lift your mood and make your spirits soar. A plus point is that you can switch off at any time and still feel that 15 minutes listening to this is as worthwhile as listening to the whole thing. Definately a five star CD. Enjoy!