Author Topic: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff  (Read 36748 times)

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Offline André

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #140 on: August 29, 2021, 07:21:41 AM »
Just to clarify: that would be this recording?


Yes, that’s the one. The soloists are very good, by the way (forgot to mention it).

Offline André

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #141 on: September 05, 2021, 03:56:20 PM »


This is one of Dave Hurwitz’ top recommendations - his top one actually IIRC. I’m not sure it deserves that accolade. While the orchestral playing is spectacular and the recording of demonstration quality, I find the chorus rarely rise above the merely proficient. They are extremely good and musically accurate but they don’t articulate the words with any kind of bite and relish. Their ultra smooth delivery takes the edge off the text, especially at soft dynamics, precisely where some conductors bring the text thrillingly alive. The soloists are a good lot, musically up to the huge demands Orff puts on them, and verbally creative and convincing. The baritone takes some getting used to - it’s an unconventional kind of voice, but he inhabits his parts very convincingly.

Most numbers segue into one another attacca, which is all to the good. Overall a very impressive achievement thanks to the superlative sound, excellent orchestral and solo singing. It would have been a triumph if the chorus had put some fire in their pants, but they’re too polite a bunch, I think.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #142 on: September 05, 2021, 11:26:08 PM »
I am only an occasional friend of this piece. But I think with CB there has been a tendency of sonically spectacular recordings to be praised way beyond their merits. (One more factor could be reviewers understanding little of the text and less of the general background of either Orff or the middle ages.)

I think the first CD I bought (I had heard the piece before in Jochum's recording and once seen the Ponelle "movie", cond. Eichhorn) was Blomstedt/Decca (or it could have been Chailly, in any case an 1990s Decca) that had been similarly praised to the skies I was rather disappointed. I have long since gotten rid of it but I found it sterile and boring, as far from raucous or seductive as one could imagine, despite technically excellent work of all contributors. I wrote about this a few years ago above, so it was probably Blomstedt. Even the Frühbeck de Burgos is for me on the border of being almost "too slick".
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline André

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #143 on: September 07, 2021, 11:47:42 AM »


In short: one of the best, but not THE best. It does sport two remarkable soloists in Thomas Hampson and the sizzlingly alluring Edita Gruberova. Orchestral playing is excellent, and so is the recorded sound, with no gimmickry. The chorus is japanese, the children’s chorus local (Berlin). While technically proficient, their delivery lacks verbal incisiveness. Ozawa’s  conducting injects some welcome dynamism in the more massive numbers (like the opening and closing O Fortuna). It is markedly different from Ozawa’s Boston account from 2 decades earlier.

Offline André

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #144 on: September 15, 2021, 05:18:10 AM »


I kept this one for last, as I remembered it to be my favourite. Well, my taste has changed a bit, thanks to renewed exposure to the work. I’d say it’s one of the 5 best, probably the most accomplished of all on the technical side of things : orchestral execution, choral singing and engineering. The soloists are a very accomplished trio, especially the outstanding Mark Oswald (baritone), but maybe not especially characterful. Dutoit’s conducting is mightily efficient but lacks tension in places. He’s Swiss, so you get cleanliness, smartness, impeccable gestures but not a hair is out of place. CB is sometimes garrulous, frequently sardonic and that’s a trait Dutoit is reluctant to convey. To some it will be a virtue, so your mileage may vary. What cannot be disputed is that this Decca release boasts the finest engineering of all. The depth and clarity of the soundstage are outstanding, the warmth and precision superb.

At this point I’d rate the top versions thus:

Top tier:

- Kegel
- Jochum stereo
- Ozawa Berlin

Second tier:

- Dorati
- Dutoit
- Runnicles
- Tilson Thomas

Honorable mentions to Muti, Frühbeck de Burgos, Thielemann.

Offline LKB

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #145 on: September 19, 2021, 08:31:15 AM »
CB and l go back to 1974 or '75, when the conductor of my high school's symphonic band recruited me to play timpani for the ensemble's performance at a local band festival.

As l had not yet learned to read music, l required a recording from which l could memorize the timpani parts. I wound up with the Jochum DG stereo LP, which simultaneously introduced me to Deutsche Grammophone, Jochum, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau et. al.

The band festival was ... memorable. As we were setting up for the performance, l suddenly realized that l only had two drums available ( CB is scored for two timpanists, with a minimum of four drums ). For rehearsals we had borrowed timpani from the neighboring middle-school, but nobody had made any arrangement for the performance. So, l asked the timpanist of one of the other bands if his director would allow me to use their drums, and this request was granted... whew!

So l now had the required drums, but no music stand. Not a big deal since l had the thing memorized, but l needed something to rest my mallets on. l couldn't bring myself to further begging, and decided my briefcase on the floor would suffice.

The performance was about as good as a high school can deliver, and l had a blast. Playing timps for CB is an absolutely primal experience, and I've always been grateful for the opportunity.

I've since had the good fortune to sing bass in the chorus as well as the baritone solos, from the mid- '90's up to 2019.

As far as recordings go, I've owned several but the Jochum imprint remains my first choice. Now if someone would just come out with an SACD remaster...
Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen...

Offline André

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #146 on: September 19, 2021, 10:13:01 AM »
Great story, LKB !  :)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
« Reply #147 on: September 29, 2021, 11:39:53 AM »
I listened to Orff's Carmina Burana once and that was enough for me. :)
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