Orff: Carmina Burana

Orff: Carmina Burana

by Marin Alsop
     
 

The success of a performance of Carmina Burana often depends on qualities quite different from most classical music: sheer volume, for instance, and the force with which Orff's barbaric rhythms are felt in the listener's own body. Marin Alsop's new recording of the work meets these requirements but offers much else besides. One telling touch is the spaciousSee more details below

Overview

The success of a performance of Carmina Burana often depends on qualities quite different from most classical music: sheer volume, for instance, and the force with which Orff's barbaric rhythms are felt in the listener's own body. Marin Alsop's new recording of the work meets these requirements but offers much else besides. One telling touch is the spacious resonance of the recording venue; it's a concert hall, yet the way the music hangs in the air makes it sound like a Gothic cathedral, enhancing the appeal of Orff's archaic medievalism. Naturally, that's especially evident in the big climaxes of the piece, nowhere more than in the familiar "O Fortuna" chorus that opens and closes the cycle. But Alsop and her musicians in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus make the music's contrasting, more delicate moments just as persuasive, revealing the transparency of Orff's careful orchestration in certain passages, especially the early stages of the "Court of Love" section. Of the three soloists, soprano Claire Rutter is a special standout, her pure tone a perfect fit for the lyrical sentiments of "Stetit puella" and "In trutina," while Markus Eiche bellows his way through the blustery baritone solos of "Ego sum abbas" and "Circa mea pectora" in a forceful style that's also totally appropriate to Orff's dynamic music. Alsop is clearly having a lot of fun as she leads her forces here -- another absolute requirement for a successful performance of Carmina Burana -- making this a highly satisfying option among the many recordings of this crowd-pleasing work.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Blair Sanderson
One of the most popular of modern choral works, Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" has found its way into many collections just on the strength of its foreboding opening, "O Fortuna." Because this work is well represented in all the major labels' catalogs, one has a wide array of performances to choose from; while several are excellent, it is difficult to say one recording is ranked above the rest. Still, there are plenty of reasons to try Marin Alsop's 2006 Naxos recording with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, mostly because of its fantastic sound quality and amazingly defined details. All of the Latin and German texts are enunciated crisply by the soloists and chorus, and the orchestra plays with extraordinary precision; even the tracks are clearly separated, to allow for full resonance at the end of sections and to make the performance seem as neat as possible. This fastidious recording may not have the most imposing opening (unless the volume is turned up really high), so listeners who crave a thunderous "O Fortuna" should look elsewhere, because Alsop's emphasis on verbal clarity makes it a little less than explosive. However, this is a good recording for studying the work, and this bright, energetic performance holds up well on repeated listening. The vocal solos by baritone Markus Eiche and tenor Tom Randle are appropriately comical and entertaining, but soprano Claire Rutter's singing in "Stetit puella" and "In trutina" is beautiful in tone and expression, and well-suited to the most affecting moments of this cantata. Naxos' reproduction captures everything, though there are isolated moments where it seems an extra microphone could have made the ensemble sound a little fuller.
Gramophone - Peter Quantrill
Marin Alsop is a sound judge of tempi and of when to push on near the end of a number to squeeze just a bit more juice out of even the most routine material.
BBC Music Magazine - Terry Blain
This is a lusty and in many ways extremely appealing version of Orff's popular classic.... This new interpretation now occupies a prominent and convincing niche at the budget end of the market.
Philadelphia Inquirer - David Patrick Stearns
An appropriately spirited, theatrical, well-sung, and not unduly vulgar recording.
Baltimore Sun - Tim Smith
Alsop...taps into the earthy jolt of the well-worn score, keeping things taut and crisp. There's a nice bite to the aggressive passages, an unfussy lyricism to the sweeter ones.
Classic FM Magazine - Emma Baker
[May 2007 Disc of the Month] In a market awash with recordings of this popular work, a new version has to be pretty special. And American conductor Marin Alsop and her Bournemouth orchestra, chorus and soloists have produced just that.... This recording -- at budget price -- is a must-have for any collection.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/30/2007
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313003372
catalogNumber:
8570033
Rank:
131540

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Carmina Burana, scenic cantata for soloists, choruses & orchestra  - Carl Orff  - Marin Alsop  -  Bournemouth Symphony Chorus  - Jan Brueghel  - Thomas Randle  - Claire Rutter  - Markus Eiche  - Henrik van Balen (the Elder)  -  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra  -  Highcliffe Junior Choir  - Greg Beardsell  -  Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus  - Mary Denniss  - Andrew Knights

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