Best version of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana?
February 11, 2006 9:44 PM   Subscribe

Best version of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana? The headline pretty much says it all. What's the best version and why do you think it's the best one? I'm looking for the classical version, not any of the techno or remixed versions, and when I say "best", I mean the best performance/conductor/orchestra that's hopefully available on cd. For what it's worth, I've only heard a few versions, but I especially liked the version of O Fortuna used in the movie Excalibur. I think it has just the right amount of dramatic flair and I like the slightly faster speed.
posted by edjusted to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This one is my favorite--the chorus is just amazing (and the orchestra isn't bad, either).

Blomstedt brings his sense of grace, balance, and power and gives the work a much more polished rendering than normal, IMHO. (His specialties are Bruckner, Sibelius, Nielsen, etc., so big, sculpted gestures are typical of his work, and it fits the Orff well.) And Vance George has for years consistently produced the finest symphony orchestra chorus in the US, and that's the main draw here.

Also, I don't have this one, but the clips sound great, and Sir Simon's work with the BPO has been amazing. It sounds like he's taking a completely different approach than, for instance, the one Blomstedt took on the recording above, a much more insistent and lively one. (I'm going to order this now, I'm curious.)

Speaking of Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, this recording of Debussy's La Mer is completely amazing.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:41 PM on February 11, 2006

Jochum seems to be Orff's favoured one. It's available ...out there.
posted by Gyan at 2:05 AM on February 12, 2006

Mod note: moved the headline to the beginning of the question from the title area
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:23 AM on February 12, 2006

The one with Ormandy and Philadephia is not bad. It should be cheap too.
posted by doowop at 6:38 AM on February 12, 2006

I heard the new Rattle/Berlin version on the radio and thought it was excellent. The sound is certainly state-of-the-art.

However, IMHO the version to get is the 1952 mono recording by Eugen Jochum with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra and Chorus. As Gyan says, Jochum caught the combination of beauty, sex and outrageousness like nobody else, and when this recording was made, it still had "the shock of the new." The harmonic clash on "Oh Fortuna" is hair-raising, both at the beginning and when it comes back at the end. It's available from Amazon.
posted by KRS at 8:11 AM on February 12, 2006

Rattle/Berlin if you liked the Fortuna in Excalibur you will prefer the more polished tone.
posted by Wilder at 12:02 PM on February 12, 2006

I've heard 'em all, and I have a strong preference for this one. It's out of print, but can be found used on eBay, or Amazon.

It's odd--but I normally don't care much for Ricardo Chailly's direction. But the dynamics on this version are just right, capturing the awe of the piece without tipping over into bombast.
posted by curtm at 1:06 PM on February 12, 2006

Response by poster: Time to break out the credit card and sample some of these suggestions! Thank you all!
posted by edjusted at 9:02 PM on February 13, 2006

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