Monday, 15 June 2015

Carl Orff's 'other' scenic cantatas - Poems of Catullus, Triumph of Aphrodite

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If you don't know them, you might like them - they are not much like Carmina Burana (or, only occasionally); but are highly dramatic with a fair bit of virtuoso singing, acapella/ plainchant sections, lyrical solos, and declamation.

Catulli Carmina is for male and female chorus, tenor and soprano with pianos and percussion; and Trionofo di Afrodite for larger forces but also very percussion orientated.



The lyrics are in Latin and Greek, and I recommend that you only get the full value of these pieces if you follow a translation - however I can't find a convenient full translation online.

Both pieces are distinctly smutty/ suggestive/ vulgar/ bawdy (especially the poems of Catullus) - indeed the ethos is very much neo-pagan (as befits their origin in a Third Reich Zeitgeist); alternating intoxicated, self-forgetful lust with existential despair.

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