Orff: Carmina Burana (CD) Carl Orff, Robert Shaw, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
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Orff: Carmina Burana (CD) Carl Orff, Robert Shaw, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra & Chorus

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As much as critics--and many musicians--love to hate this work, Carmina Burana is a uniquely entertaining and justly popular theatrical masterpiece. This collection of 13th-century secular poems, originally found in a Bavarian monastery, were selected, set to original music, and arranged for a large modern orchestra, vocal soloists, and choirs by German composer Carl Orff. Orff ingeniously used these large forces to create a work of astonishing and powerful simplicity. The simplest melodies, primal rhythms, and rudimentary orchestration combine for an unforgettably dynamic musical and dramatic experience. This is one of the first digital recordings of the work, and one of the more successful in balancing the large numbers of singers and instrumentalists. Judith Blegen's lovely rendition of "In trutina" is worth many hearings, and the energy and excitement generated in the sections for full choir and orchestra are something you just have to experience. --David Vernier