Sunday, March 29, 2009

O Fortuna

As the originally posted video (bottom of this page) is no longer available, here's Carmina Burana in full length performed by UC Davis University Chorus, Alumni Chorus, Symphony Orchestra, and the Pacific Boychoir.
For those who like to take the time: Lean back and enjoy.


  1. These are the words of the 3rd world now... millions on living a dollar a day... except they do not have an opera singing for them.... :)

    Thank you Sean.... as always.... :)

  2. Reading my thoughts, Nevin? :) Interesting ...

  3. It's not totally complete but it's a magnificent video, Sean. Thank you!

    First, allow me to be personal. Ten years ago, I was in Winnipeg to listen to O Fortuna presented by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. I had seen the rehearsal the day before the official night. I knew they would do well. And they did. At the end, when the three trumpets stood up to play the last triumphant measures, the whole audience spontaneously stood up with them. The notes were vibrating sonorously. And then they stopped. For one minute, we didn't hear a sound. Then the concert hall erupted with bravos and thunderous applause.

    I couldn't....Tears were rolling down, and my hands were holding my chest. Y'see, one of the three trumpets was my son. And as I had just been convinced, by this splendid rendition of Orff, of the fickleness of time, my little boy had risen to a moment of glory, from a six-year-old pianist taught by his mom, to a young but mature first trumpet player of a Symphony Orchestra. What else can I add?

    And yet, I want to say more. Because my son was involved, and O Fortuna was far from being a regular type of classical music, I studied Carl Orff's life and music intensely. I have come to the conclusion that not only was Kurt Uber's friend, a genius but he was one of the bravest German man I have ever read about. Although his friend had chosen to resist Hitler's evilness by secret actions, and was executed for it, Orff confronted Nazism openly with what he knew best, his music.

    And all you have to do to understand and believe this, is to imagine Hitler and his friends, in 1937, sitting in a concert hall in Francfurt, and assisting to the presentation of O Fortuna. "Your time will come, you sadistic, barbarious betrayors of our nation. You're at the top today. Tomorrow you will fall. Fickleness of fortune!" And the erotic staccato of the piece (so condemned by one Nazi) confirmed the clear message. Why and how Orff survived? As so many other Germans (nurses, doctors, bricklayers, bakers etc.) did. By doing his job well, to honour his country, no matter what. Too easy to be a hero in another land.As so many Americans have learned: you might not agree with what the leader does, but you still go to work every morning, and keep your country functioning.

    Thank you, Sean, for the freedom of speech you believe in, which allowed me to post this long comment.

  4. Simply because I forgot to tick the Email follow-up.

  5. Sean, Like Claudia I am so grateful you posted this video. I know of this musical masterpiece but I had never read the English interpretation in the sub-titles. It is so incredibly moving.

    Claudia, thank you very much for your comment. I enjoyed reading your association with the Symphony and the history surrounding it. Claudia, honestly you should start your own blogsite, you have so much to share.

  6. Ardent- Thank you for your nice words. I'm afraid I wouldn't know what to post on a blog. I'm just inspired sometimes by what a blogger presents. This particular post really touched my heart. All this had been inside me for many years. It was a relief to tell someone about it. The comment was a bit too long. I'm just very grateful to Sean for tolerating it.

  7. Claudia,
    what shall I say? :)
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    As for Orff's "behaviour" during the shortest of all millennial empires, only this: Opinions differ. And they differ very much.
    As for this very piece, though: It's certainly among my favourites.

    Again, thanky you very much to share this very memory.

    so glad you enjoyed it.
    Voilà :) and here are "the lyrics“ for Carmina Burana. :)