Orff: Carmina Burana/MTT

Review by: David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality: 9

Sound Quality: 8

This is a terrifically exciting performance of Orff’s popular chestnut. Tempos are swift, from the opening “O fortuna” onward. The soloists are uniformly excellent, especially Judith Blegen, whose “In trutina” remains one of the most beautiful ever recorded. Robert Page’s Cleveland Orchestra Chorus sings with musicality, enthusiasm, and superb discipline. Of the composer’s Bavarian roots and earthy humor there’s nary a shred. This is Orff seen through the lens of Stravinsky’s Les Noces. Michael Tilson Thomas hammers home the work’s repetitive rhythms with obsessive, mechanical precision, aided by playing of characteristic brilliance and transparency from the Cleveland Orchestra. It is certainly a legitimate view of the work, but one about as far removed from Jochum’s warmth and folksiness (DG) as Cleveland is from Munich. The sonics, multi-miked to the hilt and originally designed to present a different placement of each individual number, may strike your ears as overly processed (big surprise)–but they actually support the interpretation. In sum–an unusual and extreme rendition, really well done.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Jochum (DG)

CARL ORFF - Carmina Burana

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