A joyful celebration welcoming the New Year, this Gala from Berlin presents the world-renowned Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, in Carl Orff’s famous Carmina Burana, an intensely dramatic cantata that remains one of the most widely performed works from the twentieth century. With an exceptional vocal line-up – soprano Sally Matthews, tenor Lawrence Brownlee and baritone Christian Gerhaher – this is an energetic and thrilling performance. Beethoven’s Leonore No. 3 overture and Handel’s supreme ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus are also included.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3, Op. 72b
Carl Orff: Carmina Burana
GeorgeRead more Friedrich Handel: Messiah: Part II: Hallelujah
soprano Lawrence Brownlee,
tenor Christian Gerhaher,
Knabenchor des Staats- und Domchores Berlin
Kai-Uwe Jirka) Berlin Radio Chorus
Simon Halsey) Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Simon Rattle,
Recorded live at the Philharmonie Berlin, 31 December 2004.
NTSC 16:9 Sound format:
PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1 Region code:
English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese Running time:
89 mins No. of DVDs:
1 (DVD 9)
R E V I E W:
ORFF Carmina Burana & • Simon Ratttle, cond; Berlin PO; Berlin RCh; Boys of the Berlin Staats- und Domchor; Sally Matthews (sop); Lawrence Brownlee (ten); Christian Gerhaher (bar) • EUROARTS 2053678 (DVD: 89:00)
& BEETHOVEN Leonore Overture No. 3. HANDEL-GOOSSENS Messiah: Hallelujah Chorus
ORFF Carmina Burana • Daniel Harding, cond; Bavarian RSO and Ch; Tölz Children’s Ch; Patricia Petibon (sop); Hans-Werner Bunz (ten); Christian Gerhaher (bar) • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 8778 (61:31 Text and Translation)
When Simon Rattle’s live performance was issued, I was astounded (Fanfare 28:5) that the CD could be mastered, pressed, warehoused, shipped to America, sent on to Fanfare, and mailed to me, arriving exactly three weeks after the concert. Not so the DVD, which has just appeared not quite six years later. The concert opened with Beethoven and, since it was New Year’s Eve, closed with the most rousing piece an English conductor could bring to a German audience, a chorus by the “great English composer Handel,” as Rattle announced from the podium. This celebratory occasion explains the choice of the Goossens orchestration made for Beecham’s 1959 recording. At least two earlier recordings of the Orff have been available on video, Ozawa’s Philips version on VHS and Eichhorn’s Eurodisc version on DVD, but I have not seen either one. Rattle’s CD ranks among the better versions, so this is thoroughly enjoyable.
The newest of the three performances comes from Daniel Harding, a conductor who has been recording for over a decade, though this is my first acquaintance with him. The live recording was made in the Gasteig, the home of the Munich Philharmonic, rather than the Herkulessaal, where this orchestra usually plays. The booklet notes are the first (to my knowledge) to address directly the question of the work’s quality. In the interview Harding makes a balanced case for the composer’s 20th-century approach to medieval texts. He addresses Christian Gerhaher’s description of the work as “magisterially meretricious” and manipulative by saying that paradoxically it is also honest. Another note states that the texts sung in this performance are the same ones that Orff set, which came from Schmeller’s editions of 1847 and 1904, rather than the critical edition of the original texts by Hilka and Schumann (1930–70). This is not an issue that has ever been raised before to my knowledge, and my present interests leave me no time to go back over the 56 recordings in my collection (I don’t have the rest) to see what others might have done, if anything, about revising the text setting. Harding’s soloists include a soprano whose intonation falls short of most of the singers who have essayed this very grateful music. The tenor is quite satisfactory, while Christian Gerhaher improves on his falsetto-ridden performance under Rattle. The hard tone of the boys from Tölz is just right for this music, and the chorus and orchestra trace their familiarity with the music back to Jochum’s premiere recording of October 1952.
Finally, the third disc comes on a label of the Allegro Corporation. The earliest date I can find for this recording is 1998, but it appeared again recently on Brilliant (31:1), where I gave it a rave review, up with the half-dozen best versions. The usual limiting factor is the male soloists, who can fall short in so many ways, but here neither has to resort to falsetto. They are unidentified on this package, but all other issues identify Ann Archibald (sop), John Graham-Hall (ten), and Peter Sidhom (bar) with boys of the Temple Church choir and the Royal Choral Society. So if you don’t mind incomplete credits and no text, you get one of the finest recordings of the work at a bargain price.
Carmina buranaby Carl Orff Performer:
Sally Matthews (Soprano),
Lawrence Brownlee (Tenor),
Christian Gerhaher (Baritone)
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,
Berlin Radio Chorus
Period: 20th Century Written: 1936; Germany
Messiah, HWV 56: Hallelujah!by George Frideric Handel Conductor:
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,
Berlin Radio Chorus
Period: Baroque Written: 1742; London, England
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
CARL ORFF: CARMINA BURANA. Rattle - Berlin Phil.May 26, 2012By Luke Bryant (Oakleigh South, Victoria)See All My Reviews"Carmina Burana is the name given to 24 of verses from a collection of 254 poems and dramatic texts mostly from the 11th and 12th century, they were written by secular monks and students while the Latin idiom was the dialect across Italy and Western Europe for travelling scholars, universities and theologians. Most were produced to attack or criticize the Catholic Church and were probably ignored - or only regarded by the Vatican as disgraceful. (Apparently little has changed in the 21st century as far more serious scandal becomes known.) There are at least 80 CDs of Carl Orffs Carmina Burina with more than a dozen recommendations of this exiting 20th Century tour de force cantata written in 1936. These two dozen worldly songs for singers and chorus remain one of the most popular pieces of music ever written and with this exceptional vocal line-up soprano Sally Matthews, tenor Lawrence Brownlee and baritone Christian Gerhaher it is a full of life exciting performance. Language communication can be a problem with all performances on CD, but happily not on this recording where Sir Simon Rattles concert performance with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, released on DVD, with several translations visually available as the cantata continues to its repeated, transfixing O Fortuna conclusion. The text added makes it a more thrilling performance not to be missed. Luke Bryant. Australia."Report Abuse
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