What's That Music?
Carmina Burana - Carl Orff, Composer
It's one of the most recognizable pieces of music of the 20th century. I first came across it watching the movie Excalibur, but many Patriots fans who have been to a game in Gillette Stadium know it as the music that precedes the team streaming from the inflatable Patriots helmet leading up to game time.
The piece -- composed by German composer Carl Orff -- is called "O Fortuna" from the larger work "Carmina Burana" (technically, "Songs of Beuern: Secular songs for singers and choruses to be sung together with instruments and magic images"), which itself is based on a medieval collection of poetry of the same title.
Of all the versions, this one (first 22 seconds -- click to listen) performed by the San Francisco Symphony and Chorus is my favorite. The piece is actually included twice in the overall work, the first and last of 25 parts. This clip is from part 25 and is far more majestic and ominous than the opening piece. It starts with an earth-shattering gong and has a much more invigorating finish.
However, the vocals are Latin and German; and the question is: What's it about?
Well, all music is open to at least some interpretation. Below, I present the German lyrics with the English translation provided in the liner notes. Unfortunately, I did a lot of typing before finding the same exact thing on the web.
|Latin vocal||English translation|
et tunc curat
ludo mentis aciem,
dissolvit ut glaciem.
like the moon
you are changeable,
and then soothes
as fancy takes it;
it melts them like ice.
Fate - monstrous
Fate is against me