Reviews

GMCD 7227 – Carmina Burana by Carl Orff

Choir of the Academia de Musica de Mineria, Orchestra Sinfonica de Mineria, Herrera de la Fuente – Conductor, Ben Holt – baritone, Frank Kelley – tenor, Gabriela Herrera – soprano

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ARGYLL FM – David Heft

David Heft with the Sunday evening concert of recorded music 08/07/01
There are only two works this evening, both by the German-born composer Carl Orff. He was born of an Old Baverian family at Munich on the 11th July 1895 and it is to commemorate his birthday that tonight’s program is devoted to his music. He died at munich on the 29th March 1982 aged eighty-seven.
In addition to many other works, Orff wrote two operas both based on fairy tales by the brothers’ Grimm, Der Mond (The Moon) in 1939 and Die Kluge (The Wise Woman) in 1943, and after the second World War wrote other stage works which he refused to call operas. His Music for Children, written between 1950 and 1954, is an important and distinctive work. It is however for his scenic cantata – Orff’s own description of the work – Carmina Burana that he is best known and which brought him universal acclaim despite his critics who considered his music to be inferior. One critic even went as far as to describe Orff as ‘a rich man’s banjo player’! These criticisms were of course quite without foundation.
It is his masterpiece Carmina Burana which we hear first and which was given its first performance in June 1937. The work is based on medieval poems discovered in the debris of the secularised monastery of Benediktbeuren, Bavaria in 1908 and consists of bawdy celebrations of drinking, lovemaking and other earthly delights.
Continuing in my series of great recordings from Guild Music, I have chosen Guild’s recording of the work which was made live before an audience of 3000 at The Sala Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico City, in 1988.
The performance is given by Ben Holt – baritone, Frank Kelly – tenor, Gabriela Herrera – soprano, with the Choir of the Academia de Musica de Mineria, the corso de los NiƱos de la Basilica de Guadalupe and the Qrquesta Sinfonica de Mineria conducted by Herrera de la Fuente. Ben Holt died shortly after the event.