Carmina Burana : Work information

Carl Orff ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
L'orchestre national de Lituanie, Hugues Reiner (Conductor)

This work

Work name
Carmina Burana
Work number
1937-01-01 02:00:00

This recording

Forlane CI
Bernard Ginestet
Recording date
1993-01-01 00:00:00

Track listing

  • O Fortuna 2:53 min
  • Fortune plango vulnera 2:30 min
  • Veris leta facies 4:31 min
  • Omnia Sol temperat 2:39 min
  • Ecce gratum 2:51 min
  • Tanz 1:48 min
  • Floret silva 3:37 min
  • Chramer gip die varwe mir 4:05 min
  • Reie 5:22 min
  • Were du werlt alle min 0:58 min
  • Estuans Interius 2:26 min
  • Olim lacus colueram 3:19 min
  • Ego sum abbas 1:33 min
  • In taberna quando sumus 2:49 min
  • Amor volat undique 3:50 min
  • Dies nox et omnia 2:16 min
  • Stetit puella 2:28 min
  • Circa mea pectora 1:59 min
  • Si puer cum puellula 0:51 min
  • Veni veni venias 1:01 min
  • In trutina 2:32 min
  • Tempus est iocundum 2:12 min
  • Dulcissime 0:45 min
  • Ave formossima 2:02 min
  • O Fortuna 3:32 min


Carmina Burana, Carl Orff's exhilarating fusion of music, words and movement, was first produced in 1937. Using Medieval Latin lyrics, its sense of spectacle seems largely derived from Baroque opera and Greek tragedy.

Carmina's sensual evocation of pagan culture is powerful. The feelings of physical excitement it manages to arouse in audiences is testament to the effect of rhythm, our most fundamental musical instinct. In comparison with other works by Orff such as The Wedding, Carmina Burana is basic and primordial, yet it is all the more popular for it.

The most recognised parts of this cantata are the opening and closing choruses, O Fortuna, but there are many other moments to listen out for: the chorus Ecce Gratum is particularly popular, and there are some wonderful solo numbers including Dulcissime, sung by the soprano. 

The Composers

Carl Orff

Carl Orff was born in Munich in 1895 into a military family. His first musical training consisted of piano lessons from his mother. He also learned to play the organ and cello and wrote some songs. He received his formal musical training at the Music Academy in Munich. From 1915 to 1917, Orff was musical director of the Munich Kammerspiele, then the Nationaltheater in Mannheim and the Landestheater in Darmstadt during 1918-19, after which he taught. In 1923 he met Dorothee Günther, with whom he co-founded the Güntherschule for gymnastics, music and dance in Munich in 1924.

Between 1930 and 1933 Orff conducted the Music Bach Society, and began to publish works about the art of creating music, giving lectures, demonstrations and training courses. His work with the Bach Society eventually caused him to write his most famous work, Carmina Burana (1937). However, during the late 30’s and early 40’s, his music was deemed to be unsuitable for public performance by the Nazi government, and in 1944 the Güntherschule was closed down, and later destroyed by bombing.

After the War, Orff was contacted by the Bavarian Broadcasting Company and asked whether he could create a series of broadcasts for and with children. His initial doubts were soon replaced with enthusiasm, and a collection of musical dramas ensued, most of which were eventually performed at the Salzburg Festival or the Stuttgart Staatstheater. Between 1950 and 1955 Orff taught composition at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Munich. In 1955 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Tübingen, and again in 1972 by the University of Munich. In 1961 the Orff Institute was opened, a branch of the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. It is still open today, teaching children about music.