Greatest Carmina recorded
Brian M. Kulesza | Joliet, Illinois | 09/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a blessing it was, indeed, when a contact at a downtown Chicago record store had this recording playing one day while I was at the shop during the mid-1990's.
At that time, I believe it was available only as a "Special Import" and so I requested the disk, and it has held a special place in my collection ever since.
I also own the Shaw and Blomstedt recordings, but this recording has all of them beat in my view.
The intensity, pacing and power are all "just right" and you can almost feel the "sincerity" of the performance (for want of a better word for it).
Even if you have grown used to the work and perhaps have even wearied of it, if you don't own this recording, try it.
If you are a newcomer to "Carmina Burana" then I urge you to buy it, because it is THE recording to own.
I'll drink to that.
I am literally forced by the magnificence of this recording
Rachel Howard | ocklawaha, Florida United States | 06/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"to agree with the other reviewers. This is the best Carmina I've ever heard. It's a mixture of beautiful tunes, raucous songs, and sensual longing (read `lust') made almost palpable by the soloists, choirs, and orchestra, all under the able baton of Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos. I can almost taste the longing these characters have for one another, and that is as it should be, as far as I am concerned. This is a wild party, at which almost anything can happen... and probably does. Wolanski sounds magnificent here, catching all the lust Orff wrote in the music for the baritone. (John Noble takes on the song usually done in falsetto. I forget its name right now.) What happened to this man? I never saw any other records with Wolanski on them, and this is a pity. None of the other baritones sing Estuans interius with his abandon, though Bernd Weikl comes close on the Levine recording. The man Wolanski sings sounds like a man of the world, who knows what he wants and just where to get it.Lucia Popp is perfect for the soprano part- girlish, lyric, with easy top notes and a long breath line, fit to die for. I believe this performance caused her star to rise so many years ago, bringing Popp to world prominence. Get this recording to find out why. Lucia Popp was a class act, and she died far too young. Fortunately, she made many recordings, thus leaving us a legacy of a fine woman and a fine singer. (For those who care, Lucia Popp was one of the finest Queens of the Night from the Magic Flute I have ever heard!) She had one of those voices which sounded like nobody else. Unger does a fine job with one of the strangest, most grating songs ever committed to paper by any sane composer- The Song of the Roasted Swan. It's just as uncomfortable to listen to as that poor bird must have felt. Unger takes it in falsetto, and catches the mixture of comedy and tragedy Orff seemed to be intending for it.The choirs and orchestra sing and play this work with more than a touch of madness, which is just what this maniac composition needs. In taberna is done in a head-long fashion, like a runaway train full of party nuts going completely out of control- but they never lose their way. Chaos is just around the corner, but we never quite catch up to it. Those who are familiar with Carmina know there are many beautifully lyric moments in this piece. These too are brought off with style, and given a grace the other parts lack. It never drags and has never disappointed me in the 30 years I've owned it, both on vinyl and on this CD. The sound, by the way, is superb. You need not worry at all on that score. Transfers were done with expert hands and ears at the controls- voices, instruments, and all the parts seem to come through clearly. The piano part in Totus florio seldom comes across as clearly as it does here, thus adding a layer most other recordings miss. Other Carminas? Plenty are available, with James Levine's excellent version leading the rivals, in my humble opinion. In case you're wondering why I don't say anything about Bolero. Hmmm! What can I say? The performance is excellent, but, to paraphrase an old joke- the best version of Bolero I've ever heard was okay. My love for Ravel's music knows no bounds, but I do not appreciate all the repetition this composition abounds with. The best version, for my warped taste, is Bernstein's classic performance. It almost makes me forget just how banal Bolero is."
The best Carmina I've heard...
Jon Soma the DInosaur Man! | Ocklawaha, Florida | 08/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Out of all the Carmina Buranas I've ever listened to, this one moves me the most. Carmina Burana's music and the texts it was written for are often rather rude and crude, speaking to the listener in a very sensual manner. This is music of people, young and old, who want to do 'The Nasty', or get roaring drunk. There's also idealistic young love on display, and de Burgos and his forces capture all of it right on the money. Raymond Wolansky, the main baritone here, may not be a household name, but his work here thrills me more than the superstars on the other recordings, which includes Sherrill Milnes, Harve Presnell, Dietrich Fischer Dieskau, and Bernd Weikl. (Weikl does an incredible job with Estuans interius!) Lucia Popp is at her best here, and the gorgeous tones of her lyric soprano are just ravishing. Listen to Tempus est iocundum on track 22 to get a great idea at how lascivious and tantalizing this score can be. Everyone joins in, taking their turns, and it should not take much imagination to picture what is going on... at least, if your mind is as dirty as mine. The transfer is excellent, to my ears, and the soloists, orchestra, and chorus all sound great. I would highly recommend this one, along with the Jochum performance and James Levine's version with Weikl, Anderson, and Creech. Enjoy! That's what it's for!"