Work of the Week - Carl Orff: Catulli Carmina

The dramatic choreographed cantata Catulli Carmina will be performed at this year’s Carl Orff Festival in Andechs, Germany. The Andechser Orff-Akademie Orchestra and the Munich Radio Orchestra conducted by Christian von Gehren will accompany the Andechser Festival choir, the Friedolinspatzen of the Gesangverein Maisach and the “Sound of Voices” youth choir. The solo parts will be sung by Anja Vegry, Manuel König and Hinrich Horn; and a production team consisting of Irina Paulus (choreography) and Marcus Everding (lighting) will bring the performance to life. The opening performance takes place on 24 July followed by six additional performances, Orff’s masterpiece Carmina Burana is also in the same programme. 

Orff was buried in 1982 at the Schmerzhafte Kapelle, a hilltop church in Andechs. This connection between the composer and town created a legacy of maintaining and supporting the composer’s life work which grew into the annual Carl Orff-Festival. At the foot of the hill a venue was constructed from a barn specially for Carl Orff’s musical works.

Catulli Carmina is a work in three short acts about eternal love. The work starts with groups of young men and women singing to each other about their eternal love and devotion for each other. Meanwhile, a group of on looking old men mock the youths convinced that eternal love is a myth.  The men tell the story of Catull who’s devotion and love was not returned by his beloved Lesbia and as a result fell into deep depression. Nevertheless the youths defy this pessimistic outlook exclaiming "Eternal! / Forever!”.

The Latin text for Catulli Carmina is based on the love poems by the Roman poet Gaius Valerius Catullus and the work’s unusual instrumentation of four pianos, four timpani and bass drum allows it to be presented in a range of different venues. It was written in 1943 as the second part of the triptych Trionfi, which combines the three pieces Carmina Burana, Catulli Carmina and Trionfo di Afrodite.

With the success of Carmina Burana it was expressed that I should complete this next piece of the triptych in order to work towards a full evening’s program.  After giving up on several ideas, I remembered the Catull-choirs which despite being forgotten quickly, I thought about very strongly. - Carl Orff

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(07/21/2014)

 

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07/21/2014

Work of the Week - Carl Orff: Catulli Carmina

The dramatic choreographed cantata Catulli Carmina will be performed at this year’s Carl Orff Festival in Andechs, Germany. The Andechser Orff-Akademie Orchestra and the Munich Radio Orchestra conducted by Christian ...

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