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Orff: Carmina Burana

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 20, 1986
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Editorial Reviews

Missing the front insert.
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Product Details

  • Performer: June Anderson, Bernd Weikl, Philip Creech, Chicago Symphony Chorus
  • Orchestra: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: James Levine
  • Composer: Carl Orff
  • Audio CD (January 20, 1986)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001G5X
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,377 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew Mayzak on February 22, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I have the older Deutsche Grammophon recording with the Berlin City Opera Choir and Orchestra under the baton of Eugen Jochum and to be honest, I thought that recording was the best simply because it is commonly regarded as the landmark performance of Carmina Burana (and it is authorized by Orff himself). But Levine's Carmina Burana puts up a good fight and is a better technical performance. The choir and orchestra are not nearly as Germanic and gruff in this recording as they are in Jochum's and, as a result, sound undeniably modern and American. This works to their advantage, however.
Jochum's recording, thrilling as it is, sounds throaty and shouted at times, the orchestra frequently dragging the choir behind it's rushing tempos or vice versa. Levine restrains the orchestra and the singers, putting both in their respective places. His tempos are slower than most, but still are brisk enough to give the entire work a drive second to none.
The Chicago Symphony and Chorus follow the legatos and staccatos exactly as they are written, providing great contrast between slower and faster sections. Both the choral and instrumental elements are robust enough at times to put any German choir to shame, but also have a gentle softness that was absent in Jochum's recording. The result is a well balanced performance and the annunciation of the text comes through cleanly, especially on the first and last movements.
The soloists are equally impressive, with Weikl's expressiveness cutting through the orchestra to provide a wonderful setting of the text. His Ego sum abbas is suitably arrogant and drunken at the same time... definitely not to be missed.
Philip Creech sings the Roasted Swan Song in a high, strained tenor, the way Orff intended.
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I had been looking for a really good recording of the Carmina Burana to replace the one that I had, which was Pavel Urbanek and the Prague Festival Orchestra and Chorus, and this one is far better than I had hoped to find. Under the direction of James Levine, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus turn in superlative performances. In addition the wonderful vocal talents of June Anderson, Phillip Creech and Bernd Weikl surpass all others whom I have heard perform this work. Miss Anderson's soprano in particular is a delight to listen to.
The booklet contains translations of all of the songs, which is a tremendous help to those of us whose knowledge of Latin is not complete. I was interested to find that parts of the translations were different from others that I am familiar with.
The digital recording of this performance is fantastic, with not a note over-engineered and no need to adjust the volume as the intensity of the music fluctuates. A great addition to any classical CD collection.
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Format: Audio CD
Never before have I heard a Choral work of this magnitude and power. Orff's music is brought to life in this fantastic recording by the Chicago Symphony and Chorus. This is the only choral CD that I own that I can listen to for eternity and never get tired of it. The tone and clarity of the chorus is amazing, and the balance with the orchestra is perfect. Teachers - if you are looking for a tool for diction, tone, musicality, men's voices, and ensemble, you must get this CD. June Anderson will enthrall you with the last two soprano movements (In Trutina, Dulcissime). Bernd Weikl gives us bass/baritones something to idolize and strive to sound like. Many thanks go to James Levine for his extraordinary interpretations.
If there is only one CD that you can get right now, make it this one. The power and precision of this version of Carmina Burana will floor you and anyone else who listens to it. It is one that should be in every musician's library.
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Format: Audio CD
Bernd Weikl works wonders in this recording, singing all the music written for his voice range superbly. In tonal color, he reminds me of Sherrill Milnes on the old Ozawa recording, while he sings with a clarity seemingly beyond Milnes for much of his career. This is a rich, full voice, with bell ringing clarity and power. His version of Estuans Interius is thrilling, especially the way he finishes it. That last high note punctuates the song like the exclamation point of a solid hammer blow. Whatever Weikl handles here is done with style and passion.
June Anderson is wonderful on this recording, and sings her parts with a beauty ravishing to my ears. That final climb to the vocal heights at the finish of the body of Carmina is one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard come from any singer. I cannot recommend her highly enough. It's worth the price of this recording just to hear this minute or so of music. Then again, it's worth the money for Weikl's Estuans Interius. And many other parts which these soloists imbue with life make this performance a joy to listen to.
Which brings us the Creech, and the Song of the Roasted Swan. Some other reviewers like the idea that he sings it all in full voice. Frankly, it makes me as uncomfortable to listen to as that poor bird must have felt. The song is supposed to be amusing in a rather sick sort of way, and I think Mr. Creech misses the mark. That is my opinion, for all it's worth.
The choirs and orchestra have not been mentioned so far, and there's a very good reason for that: I prefer Carmina Burana to have its wild side, which Levine, to my ears, misses. However, if you prefer the beauty here over the feral wildness present in the Jochum and de Burgos recordings, then you cannot go wrong here.
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