Johannes Davis

Carl Orff: Carmina Burana

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AllMusic Review by

Even though it may seem like a bargain at the extremely low price, this budget release of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana is only an average recording, and listeners who expect something exceptional will find it disappointing. As performed by the L├╝beck Festival Choir and Orchestra under the direction of Johannes Davis, this cantata has little energy and verve, and from the beginning feels like a routine run-through. This is not to say that the singing and playing are bad, for the choir is reasonably full sounding and intelligible, and the orchestra is accurate, so anyone who needs a handy CD to study the piece will find that every note is in its proper place. But to get through Carmina, listeners need lots of excitement, and this is in short supply here. O Fortuna, the one chorus everybody knows, is surprisingly bland and humdrum, and it lacks the explosive quality needed to propel the opening. The rest of the work is taken at tempos that are generally quite slow and cautious, and Davis seems to favor a plodding beat that gives the music a heavy, rustic feeling. People who have shopped around know they have an embarrassment of riches in the numerous recordings of this work, and many excellent performances by world-class conductors and orchestras are available, often for little more than this cost-cutter disc and with considerably more life and sparkle.

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