Author Topic: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff  (Read 15254 times)

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Offline techniquest

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Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« on: June 23, 2007, 02:00:24 AM »
OK, one of the most done-to-death opening sections, but the rest of it is really rather fascinating. With such large forces though, and so many recordings, it's difficult to know which one to go for. I need to hear all the percussion (including the tam-tam), I need audible tubas, expressive soloists and a choir that sounds big and together.
I have the old Ozawa recording on RCA on vinyl which is wonderful, and the Hickox / LSO recording on CD (Regis) which I'm not struck with so I want to replace the CD.
Has anyone heard the new Marin Alsop recording on Naxos?

Offline knight66

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2007, 02:05:08 AM »
I have Jochum on DG which I like...to the extent I like the piece at all. I did have the Previn on LP a long time ago and thought it was excellent.

Mike
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Offline PSmith08

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2007, 02:08:10 AM »
I've always stuck with the "composer-authorized" (though, what that means I do not know) Eugen Jochum recording on DGG (1968). In fact, despite being nearly forty years old, I think the Jochum version remains a first choice in some circles. Some folks seem pretty taken with Thielemann's version, but I've never tried it out, never having been much of a fan of his. It might, with its good (I can only assume, being relatively recent DGG, though that's not always a guarantee) sound and solid forces, be the ticket.

I have Jochum on DG which I like...to the extent I like the piece at all. I did have the Previn on LP a long time ago and thought it was excellent.

Mike

Always beating me to the punch.  :D

Offline knight66

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2007, 02:09:55 AM »

Always beating me to the punch.  :D

I assure you...no...often I don't post because you said it before me.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline PSmith08

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2007, 02:12:04 AM »
I assure you...no...often I don't post because you said it before me.

Mike

Thanks for that, but I've already resigned myself to knowing that Ben Folds was right, "There's Always Someone Cooler Than You."  :'(  ;D

Ahem...well, how 'bout that Orff?  ;)

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2007, 02:13:15 AM »
OK, one of the most done-to-death opening sections, but the rest of it is really rather fascinating. With such large forces though, and so many recordings, it's difficult to know which one to go for. I need to hear all the percussion (including the tam-tam), I need audible tubas, expressive soloists and a choir that sounds big and together.
I have the old Ozawa recording on RCA on vinyl which is wonderful, and the Hickox / LSO recording on CD (Regis) which I'm not struck with so I want to replace the CD.
Has anyone heard the new Marin Alsop recording on Naxos?

Naaah, forget all that stuff, a lot of people don't get the subtle humor and all the many fine details in the score, and many don't get the complex phrasing right either. Not even close. It's all just lalala and blareboombang where Orff wrote extremely close and sensitively to the text.

What you need to listen to is Jochum's recording on DG with Janowitz, Fischer-D and the Deutsche Oper forces, recorded in the late 60s, but still sounding rather fresh. This is about as idiomatic and authentic as it gets. Few other performances even approach that.
The only one I can think of that may even be better in some aspects, is, to my total surprise, Wand's live NDR recording (on Profil - Edition Hänssler). Because Wand always came across in that rather strict, schoolmasterly way, I had a really hard time picturing him conducting Carmina Burana, but I was proven totally wrong by that stupendous, lively, very witty, differentiated and detailed performance, recorded live in the 80s but in very good, immediate sound.

Offline knight66

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2007, 02:17:16 AM »
I know it is fashionable to be sniffy about the piece, but I believe there is good reason for that. I loved it when I was a kid, but learning the choral part and yelling through a number of performances has put me right off it. My feeling is that it would be more engaging if the strophic movements were all cut down by at least one verse. There is fun to be had with it, and some beautiful things in it. But it has been pretty much ruined for me.

Mike

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2007, 02:25:52 AM »
but learning the choral part and yelling through a number of performances has put me right off it

See, that's exactly what I meant when I said "don't get the subtle humor and all the many fine details in the score, and many don't get the complex phrasing right either. Not even close. It's all just lalala and blareboombang where Orff wrote extremely close and sensitively to the text". Thanks for illustrating my point so vividly.

Not Carl's fault, though.

Offline knight66

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2007, 02:30:23 AM »
Well, I will leave it for you to somehow contact Previn, Pritchard and several lesser conductors and you can explain it to them; as they to a man encouraged the maximum sound out of the orchestra and we had to shout some sections to be heard. Pritchard in particular, normally a very musical musician, drove it headlong at max speed in the Tavern scene.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline PSmith08

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2007, 02:33:16 AM »
To be fair, De temporum fine comoedia is - to me - more compelling and interesting than Carmina Burana. Orff really showed that he was more than a one-trick pony with De temporum, and - between the two - I return to the later work more often. There is a benefit, also, to De temporum not having had its opening and concluding movement played to death. In fact, were "O Fortuna" played merely to death, it would be a shade better a situation than the current one.

Offline david johnson

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2007, 02:34:11 AM »
R. Frühbeck de Burgos / Philharmonia is the best.

dj

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2007, 02:40:53 AM »
Well, I will leave it for you to somehow contact Previn, Pritchard and several lesser conductors and you can explain it to them; as they to a man encouraged the maximum sound out of the orchestra and we had to shout some sections to be heard. Pritchard in particular, normally a very musical musician, drove it headlong at max speed in the Tavern scene.

Mike

I have Previn's WP recording but can't remember right now how it is. I think it is pretty good, but then he also has the Arnold Schoenberg Chor, so that direct comparison would be unfair.

"In taberna" is a good example. Some sections are meant to be noisy and "headlong", after all, it's "in taberna" - that means "in the pub", but not the kind of pub you know, a medieval pub which was probably much noisier and which probably also smelled much worse. Although I have been to some pubs in England which smelled pretty bad, too. But that's a different story.

But in any case, it's a good example because that short number contains a ton of tempo and sudden gear changes, a lot of it is actually meant to be very p and hushed, a lot of fine detail which, indeed, many interpreters miss and dash and yell through it. Yelling and dashing is OK towards the end, though. Again, listen to Jochum or Wand to see how it goes. And again, thanks for illustrating my point so vividly.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2007, 02:45:12 AM »
R. Frühbeck de Burgos / Philharmonia is the best.

dj

If only for Lucia Popp's divine singing!
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline knight66

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2007, 02:47:28 AM »
The Previn recording was excellent and detailed, it can be balanced carefully in the studio. However, the problems live seemed to me to be a combo of the conductor being in an unfamiliar hall and not taking much trouble to establish the acustics and the seeming need to highlight the orchestra and tell the singers to produce all possible sound. One trumpet can blot out a large chorus.

No matter how fast parts of it should go, there is no point if the words cannot be articulated. We were no slouches, only working with the big names, some of whom stipulated in their contracts that when coming to perform, at least one concert was to include the chorus.

Mike
« Last Edit: June 23, 2007, 02:51:07 AM by knight »
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Offline knight66

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2007, 02:49:45 AM »
I saw a telecast of Ozawa with Kathleen Battle and that was good, especially when it came to her melismatic phrases, she and Ozawa conspired to stretch them them to infinity, she had the technique to cope with it and it made for a spinetingling moment, authentic or not. I don't know if it is available on DVD.

Mike
« Last Edit: June 23, 2007, 03:00:40 AM by knight »
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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2007, 03:20:34 AM »
I once sat through a performance with Ozawa conducting the BP and a Japanese choir, and it was boring as hell. It was pretty obvious neither Seiji nor the choir had much of a clue what the texts are actually about...
I am pretty sure it didn't have Battle, though. That would have been nice. But it had Gruberova and Hampson, and they were very good, too, especially Hampson. But still, the whole performance was not very...interesting. At least it was really loud, courtesy of the BP, but that brings us back to my earlier point, it's not at all only about the blareboombang. Philips recorded that performance, but I never listened to the CD, for obvious reasons.

No matter how fast parts of it should go, there is no point if the words cannot be articulated.

Completely agree. That's why you should listen to the Jochum recording. The clarity of articulation of the choir is excellent. And, like I said, the musical detail shaping and phrasing is outstanding, too - maybe you will "rediscover" the piece. I know it can get too much, I played it so often in orchestras, I literally knew the bass part from memory. It's actually a lot of fun to play, but it can get too much at some point. But after several years, I also "rediscovered" the piece, and still enjoy listening to it. But not all the time.

Offline knight66

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2007, 03:41:45 AM »
I have the Jochum and wish I had been fortunate enough to have him take me through it. As to Ozawa, I have to be honest and say that Battle is absolutely the only element I can recall about it, it is quite possible the rest of the performance was under characterised.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Marc

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2007, 09:54:10 AM »
If only for Lucia Popp's divine singing!

Say no more; though I do not have that one.
But I do have the Ponnelle DVD, with the Munich 'Rundfunk Team', Lucia Popp, John van Kesteren and Hermann Prey, conducted by Kurt Eichhorn.
Watching that film, it's back to the Middle Ages .... the Seventies again! ;D
It's fun, and of course Lucia Popp is in great form! Well, Prey and Van Kesteren aren't bad either, I admit. ;)
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #18 on: June 23, 2007, 10:35:35 AM »
Say no more; though I do not have that one.
But I do have the Ponnelle DVD, with the Munich 'Rundfunk Team', Lucia Popp, John van Kesteren and Hermann Prey, conducted by Kurt Eichhorn.
Watching that film, it's back to the Middle Ages .... the Seventies again! ;D
It's fun, and of course Lucia Popp is in great form! Well, Prey and Van Kesteren aren't bad either, I admit. ;)

This is a clip from it, isn't it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UVNYXOBWJA
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Brewski

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2007, 10:59:50 AM »
I've heard the Jochum recording and it's excellent, but my two favorites are with Muti and the Philharmonia, and the more recent one with Blomstedt and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.  The latter, especially, has great energy and is superbly recorded. 

Yes, the work has suffered from overexposure (e.g., use in television commercials) but all one has to do is hear it live to be seduced once again.  Like Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra, there is much pleasure in the score beyond the opening few pages. 

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