Carl Orff – O Fortuna from Carmina Burana

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An evening pause: The first half of this video is a great performance of Orff’s piece, written as the opening for Carmina Burana. The second half shows what I think is the closing scene from a staged performance, but has no sound and is unclear. Regardless, the first half is breath-taking, and includes English subtitles, which clearly places the context of this music in 1930s Germany.

Hat tip Wayne DeVette.



  • wayne

    referencing the second part of this video with no sound;
    I believe (correct me please) it’s a film transfer of a version performed on stage in California, early 1960’s, with orchestra. Might have been at UCLA and by their Theater group.
    There used to exist a stand-alone video with the actual performance video & audio, up at YouTube, but the audio portion was subject to a copyright claim and blocked.

  • eddie willers

    Vladimir Lenin turns out to be a pretty good conductor.

  • Don Hoffman

    Don’t need to hear the music of the second half… just to be reminded of the incredible music and the story behind it. “Shortly after the greatly successful premiere, Orff said the following to his publisher, Schott Music: ‘Everything I have written to date, and which you have, unfortunately, printed, can be destroyed. With Carmina Burana, my collected works begin.'”

    First heard the unforgettable music in the 1986 TV mini-series “Peter the Great” with Maximilian Schell and many other great stars! It led me to read the biography by Robert K. Massie, which was even better.

  • wayne

    Good stuff!

    I’m a late comer (ca. 2000) to this; but always loved the music itself for this particular selection, then I discovered the words– and the words are amazing.
    (I often kid Edward about not understanding Italian opera stuff, [Evening Pause] but I can catch quite a bit of the Latin meaning itself in this, and it actually rhymes in Latin.)

    O Fortuna –
    Latin and English Lyrics

    tangentially– there are some humorous full-blown orchestral performances of this, where the choir will sing the common misheard lyrics.

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