Carmina Burana by Carl Orff is one of the most recognisable pieces of classical music, chiefly for its first and final movements, “O Fortuna,” which Hollywood loves to use to score things like medieval battle scenes and supernatural confrontations. It is based on a manuscript of poems and text penned by students and clergy in the 11th and 12th centuries, written mostly in Medieval Latin and Middle High German. It explores the themes of love, lust, gluttony, the glory of spring, and spiritual matters. Carl Orff selected 24 of these poems as the basis of his musical work, which he intended to be fully staged in a style he termed “Theatrum Mundi,” which blended dance, action and visuals. It is now generally performed as a cantata with choir and orchestra, or some configuration thereof, as it was this Friday at St George’s Cathedral in Perth.
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