Carmina Burana by Carl OrffMusic
How to get there
bus: 731, 744, 759 and 29B
metro: Red line
At this year’s Lisboa na Rua, we’ll be performing an excellent open-air concert that wouldn’t be out of place at any of the world’s great concert halls. The Gulbenkian Orchestra and Choir, along with Instituto Gregoriano de Lisboa’s Children’s Choir, will be performing Carmina Burana, by German Composer Carl Orff.
The concert will take place in one of Lisbon’s biggest green lungs: the Vale do Silêncio urban park, in response to the appeal to extend cultural events to less obvious parts of the city. Carmina Burana is a musical reference point, first being performed at the Frankfurt Opera on 8 June, 1937. The title comes from a 13th century manuscript, found in 1803 at the Abbey of Benediktbeuren. Called the Codex Latinus Monacensis, it is the largest collection of medieval-period profane poems that has survived to the present day.
Carl Orff chose 24 poems from the Codex Latinus Monacensis, in which love and the exuberance of life are at the mercy of chance.
The Cantata is framed by a symbol of Antiquity: the wheel of fortune, spinning eternally, alternating between fortune and misfortune. It is a parable of human life exposed to constant change.
Orff’s composition quickly gained popularity (“O Fortuna”, the opening and closing movement, has been used in numerous films and events) and has become the most listened to classical piece since it was recorded.
Orff chose to compose all the music entirely from scratch, despite some of the poems in the original manuscript being accompanied by music. From a musical point of view, the harmonics of the choir and orchestra serve to create a monumental feel. Orff dispensed with polyphony and thematic transformation. All the songs have a simple refrain which can be appreciated immediately. The colourful sound is achieved through a constant dynamic range, the dialogue between masculine and feminine voices and an almost Dionysian rhythm.