Thursday, 15 November 2007

1. Anonymous - Carmina Burana (12th Century)


Title: Carmina Burana
Performer: Clemencic Consort
Director: René Clemencic
Year: 1975
Length: 3 hours 39 minutes.


Ok, so that is a quite long album, but it is at the same time so interesting and so different within itself that it is a very rewarding listen. First you should know that this is not the Carl Orff, Old Spice, Carmina Burana, this is an interpretation of the original 12th century texts as they would have sounded then, down to using ancient instruments.

And this is amazing. It is really one of the best ancient music albums I've listened to, not only because of the music itself, which is very powerful and guttural, as well as funny and awe-inducing when needed. It is equally interesting if you listen to this with the story of the texts in mind.

If you were to trace the history of punk all the way back you wouldn't be wrong to start the story here, with the Goliards who wrote the lyrics and music to this. Imagine a motley group of young French students drinking, being rowdy, purposefully attacking and making fun of the Church, to the point that the Paris University complained:

"Priests and clerks.. dance in the choir dressed as women.. they sing wanton songs. They eat black pudding at the altar itself, while the celebrant is saying Mass. They play dice on the altar. They cense with stinking smoke from the soles of old shoes. They run and leap throughout the church, without a blush of their own shame. Finally they drive about the town and its theatres in shabby carriages and carts, and rouse the laughter of their fellows and the bystanders in infamous performances, with indecent gestures and with scurrilous and unchaste words."

It is like the 12th century equivalent of the May of 1968 and they are the guys who wrote this astonishing music.

Clemencic's performance does credit to the music's origins, it sounds completely chaotic at times, it is definitely not cleaned up pristine classical music, even if other versions of this have been refined, this is tough, rough and fun. And definitely something that all of you should listen to. If you can only have one CD the first one illustrates my points perfectly, the second isn't as raucuous, but it has the prettiest song in the bunch in Olim Sudor Herculis, the third CD is the most disappointing with the section of Carmina Divina and the Plaintes Mariales Du Jeu De La Passion being pretty but not much fun.

Track Highlights

1. In Taberna Quando Summus
2. Olim Sudor Herculis
3. Deduc, Syon, uberrimas
4. Bache, bene venies

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The satires were meant to mock and lampoon the Church. For example, at St. Remy, the goliards went to mass in procession each trailing a herring on a string along the ground, the game being to step on the herring in front and avoid your own herring from being trod on. In some districts, there was the celebration of the ass, in which an ass dressed in a silly costume was led to the chancel rail where a cantor chanted a song in praise of the ass. When he paused the audience would respond: "He Haw, Sire Ass, He haw!".

Clemencic Consort play Bache, bene venies! Bless you youtube:


Anonymous said...

This record seems to be very hard to get. Harmonia Mundi has deleted this from their catalog.

Francisco Silva said...

Anon: That is really unfortunate! Glad I have my copy :)

Anonymous said...

can you fileshare this for us through mediafire, megaupload, rapidshare, etc for us please?

Anonymous said...

Yes, your blog is good, bet we all are here because we want THE 1001 CLASSICAL RECORDINGS for free.

C'mon, everybody: Let's start the 1001 classical recordings project.

Viva el cibercomunismo.

Anonymous said...