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Interesting Information: Carmina Burana

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Interesting Information:  April 20, 2012

Carmina Burana

One of the many joys of living in mid-coast Maine is that a very rich array of arts are available to us each week of the year.  This area is known for its artists, musicians, writers, and so forth.  We live in an intellectual mecca in many ways.

Last weekend, we attended one of the many concerts that the Bay Chamber organization brings to us each year.  This event featured Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” performed by our own Down East Singers and three soloists (NPR’s Suzanne Nance, Daniel C. Stein, and Andrew Garland), each of whom had gorgeous voices.

If you think you don’t know Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” you do.  The opening song, “O Fortuna,” has been featured in literally hundreds of movies.  Take a look:


And, here’s one utube version of the many listed versions of ” O Fortuna”:


What I didn’t know until last Saturday, was that the WHOLE “Carmina Burana” is a collection of very old  secular songs originally written in medieval Latin, Old French, and Middle-High German.  Anthony Antolini, conductor of the Down East Singers, told us that “Carmina” is from the Latin word “carmen,” which means secular songs.  The first song, “O Fortuna,” is about Fortune, the Empress of the World, and often features a wheel of life that turns–something you can see in the utube selection above.  These early songs were “spicy” and were sung by goliards, or street persons living by their wits.

Mercy!  It’s always so fun to learn something new.

Written by louisaenright

April 20, 2012 at 11:23 am

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