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Orff: Carmina Burana / Handford, Armstrong, Rayner Cook


Release Date: 08/19/2011 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 62005   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Carl Orff
Performer:  Brian Rayner CookPeter HallSheila Armstrong
Conductor:  Maurice Handford
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé OrchestraHallé Orchestra ChorusManchester Grammar School Boys' Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Since 1979 CFP has had on its list the old Stokowski version of Carmina burana, vital if idiosyncratic, but with restricted sound by today's standards (CFP40311, 9/79). This replacement version on the CFP list is completely new, and from the opening I was afraid it might provide an exact opposite of its predecessor, a straight, wellrecorded rendering that was low on vitality and bite. That impression happily proved misleading, though I would have been interested to know in what order the work was recorded, because the choruses grow ever more incisive as it progresses. Then at the very end with the reprise of the opening chorus the temperature lowers again, as though that too was recorded right at the beginning of the sessions. The men of Read more the Halle Choir provide some rough singing, at times hardly vocalized at all, but that is arguably apt for a work which some would say is on the very verge of not being music. What is very good all through is the singing of the small choir, and the women of the main choir are better than the men, helped by the slight distancing of sound. It is that distancing which on Side 1 goes with a low transfer level to blunt the edge of the performance. Unlike most versions this one has the opening of the second section, "In taberna", at the end of the first side (Brian Rayner Cook urgently vigorous in "Estuans interius") so that when you turn over it is quite a shock—a pleasant one—when the level is higher and the sound more biting and immediate. On Side 1 I was unable to get quite that same quality whatever the volume setting, but the sound is still full, atmospheric and refined, disap pointing only in relation to such spectacular recordings as the two previous full-price HMV ones from Previn and Muti.

The soloists are all good, not just Rayner Cook but Peter Hall, the tenor, excellent in the falsetto of the roasted swan episode, while Sheila Armstrong comes close to matching her supremely beautiful performance for Previn. "In trutina" this time is just as lovely, with the voice helped in the slight distancing of the recording, but the great upward leap of "Dulcissime" is not quite so ecstatically silvery as before. The whole performance with Maurice Handford gaining in energy and incisiveness through the work—is more than enjoyable enough to make this an outstanding bargain, if hardly a match in character and drive to Previn or Muti.

-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [11/1982]
reviewing the original LP release
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Works on This Recording

1.
Carmina burana by Carl Orff
Performer:  Brian Rayner Cook (Baritone), Peter Hall (Tenor), Sheila Armstrong (Soprano)
Conductor:  Maurice Handford
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  Hallé Orchestra Chorus,  Manchester Grammar School Boys' Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Germany 
Date of Recording: 05/1982 

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