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Orff: Carmina Burana / Hickox, London SO

Release Date: 10/28/2008 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 5067   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Carl Orff
Performer:  Barry BanksChristopher MaltmanLaura Claycomb
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tiffin School Boys ChorusLondon Symphony OrchestraLondon Symphony Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This brilliant new recording of Orff's Carmina Burana is a tragic memento of conductor Richard Hickox, who died in Novemeber at the age of sixty. This is a vibrant, dynamic performance of Orff's masterpiece recorded live in London's Barbican Centre. As usual with Chandos, engineering is first-rate, with perfect balances and wide dynamic range.

-- Bob Benson, Classical CD Review



ORFF Carmina burana Read more class="ARIAL12"> Richard Hickox, cond; Laura Claycomb (sop); Barry Banks (ten); Christopher Maltman (bar); Tiffin School Boys’ Ch; London SO & Ch CHANDOS 5067 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 60:37 Text and Translation) Live: London 11/17–18/2007

As I was preparing this review, the news came of the sudden death of Richard Hickox, who suffered a heart attack after a recording session. He was only 60, but had been conducting choruses and orchestras since he was 21. His discography of major works for chorus and orchestra reads like Robert Shaw’s, who lived much longer.

Orff’s crowd-pleaser has been recorded at least 64 times, with all but a dozen of the recordings still available, including all three mono versions. Hickox is the fifth conductor to have a second try at it, following Jochum, Kegel, Ozawa, and Previn, and like most of them he improves on his first attempt (11:1). The earlier version had few serious liabilities but few positive excellences. This time, using the same orchestra and chorus, ones that he has worked with so often, the tempos are just right. The soloists, none of whom have recorded the work before, are fine, with a tenor and a baritone who need no falsetto for their demanding parts and a soprano who matches the usual high standard in a part that is clearly gratifying to the voice. The boys sound more like street urchins than most of the other choirs that have recorded it. I can only quibble about some passing flat pitches from the soprano in “In trutina” and the baritone in “Si puer cum puellula.”

This is the first surround-sound version I’ve received, although several versions have been issued or reissued. Oddly, I hear very little surround, most of the sound coming from up front. That’s not a complaint against the recorded sound, which is bright, clear, and well balanced. Among the most recent recordings, I prefer this to Alsop (30:6), Rattle (28:5), Runnicles (25:4), Thielemann (23:3), and Dutoit (21:4) for reasons made clear in each review. The second Ozawa (13: 2) has never been bettered, but Hickox ranks with the runner-ups. Enjoy.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

Carmina burana by Carl Orff
Performer:  Barry Banks (Tenor), Christopher Maltman (Baritone), Laura Claycomb (Soprano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tiffin School Boys Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Germany 

Featured Sound Samples

Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi: O Fortuna
III. Cour d'amours: Circa mea pectora

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