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Carl Orff

Carmina Burana Lyrics

Carmina Burana

Who wrote the music?

Carl Orff was born in Munich on the 10th July, 1895 (and died on March 29, 1982 at the age of 87) and was an educationalist as well as a composer. The location of Carl Orff's grave is Andechs Monastery (see

1995 is the centenary of Orff's birth, so there will sure to be many performances of Carmina Burana staged this year around the world. Sydney had a performance at the Opera House in late January, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras and in Canberra (Australia's capital) an open air performance is planned for March.

Details from Bill Alford:

"The Canberra performance may even rival the original performance because it won't have the confines of a theatre but acoustics may be a problem. I believe that the final scene is going to be quite some conflagration. There is going to be something like 500 performers. The blurb for this shows a scene similar to the original performance going up in fire."

Orff wrote a secular cantata, titled "Carmina Burana" based on the poems from the manuscript, but did not use any of the original melodies. The poems comprise religious, political, moral, erotic, Bacchic and Satirical verses. When Orff discovered the Carmina Burana for himself, the poems changed his entire career. He was past forty years old and more prominent in his native Munich as a music educator than a composer. In writing Carmina Burana, he found his own, unmistakable style.

His work contains driving rhythms and exultant hedonism, and brought him to wide attention in the musical world.

Orff was a devout active Roman Catholic and included bells in "Ave formosissima" (Song 24). One wonders if the Roman Catholic Church would have officially endorsed Carl Orff's works, particularly Carmina Burana.

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