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Carmina Burana, piano

By Eric Chumachenco

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By Eric Chumachenco. By Carl Orff (1895-1982). Listening CD. Wergo #WER 62172. Published by Wergo (NX.WER-62172).

Item Number: NX.WER-62172

"Carmina Burana" - Carl Orff's famous work for vocal soloists, large mixed choir and large orchestra based on a collection of medieval texts - in the piano version?!

The piano was for Carl Orff a percussion instrument, consisting of strings, hammers and keys. Here he went far beyond Bartok's "Allegro barbaro", beyond Prokofiev and Stravinsky's "Les Noces". The hammered sound makes the rhythm clear, as it does in the case of timpani, glockenspiel, and xylophone.

The piano version of "Carmina Burana" is not a piano score; what the vocal soloists and the choir sing is integrated into the sound just as the orchestra part. Orff's metre and form are followed exactly. One perceives how carefully proportioned the individual melodies are, how much freely applied form theory plays a part, how the impulse is subject to strict control.

The careful listener to the piano version may not only manage to identify one or the other instrument, but will also have Carl Orff's fantasy image of the Middle Ages vividly in front of his eyes: vital, colourful, wordly, spread out between gracefulness and drastic coarseness.

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