Saturday, February 18, 2017

My VHS Purge: Carmina Burana

As part of a downsizing project eight years ago I purged most of my pre-recorded VHS tape collection. I've never been a big collector of movies -- my DVD library is fairly small -- but the fact is I had accumulated around 70 tapes:

Carmina Burana (1990) No, it's not the music from the film The Omen (1976), as the overture to Carmina Burana, "O Fortuna", is so often mistakenly attributed, including by cinema scholar VIncent LoBrutto in his biography on director Stanley Kubrick, for it's the head-banger intro and extro bit to one of the greatest musical masterpieces of the 20th Century.

Written in 1935 and 1936 by German composer Carl Orff, Carmina Burana is a cantata asking for interpretation by dance company or musical group of all mixes.

This VHS tape is of a traditional performance by symphony orchestra and choir: The great conductor Seiji Ozawa leads the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Shin-Yu Kai Chorus, and Boys Choir of the Staats- Und Domchor, Berlin in a definitive performance of Orff's masterwork. It also doesn't hurt having soprano Kathleen Battle.

Whenever I played this tape my VCR's capstans would rattle.


Francois said...

I believe it's also part of the music track in Excalibur
I visited the Isle of Sky in Scotland where the horse rigging scene in the fog was shot.
I glorious place on earth.

Nice post, keep the good stuff coming!

Simon St. Laurent said...

Thank you!

Yeah, "O Fortuna" was used effectively in the movie "Excalibur". It was used even more famously a few years before (late 1970s) in a television commercial for an aftershave. Shots of surfers backed with "O Fortuna" made for a fine 30-second piece of film.