Volume 5 of Profil's Günter Wand Edition is devoted to Carl Orff's massive and enormously popular cantata, Carmina Burana, in a stirring radio performance presented with the NDR Sinfonieorchester in 1984. In musical terms, this is a fine rendition, with controlled solos from soprano Maria Venuti, tenor Ulf Kenklies, and baritone Peter Binder; well-blended choral singing from the Hamburger Knabenchor and the combined forces of two mixed choirs; and vivid playing from the orchestra, particularly in the percussion section, which goes all-out in the most boisterous numbers. Unfortunately, this on-air performance is slightly under-recorded and a little out of balance, so the softest passages occasionally waft out of focus, and the louder sections seem abrupt and intrusive. The 2005 remastering and digital editing may have eliminated some defects of live performance, but if it wasn't recorded "hot," which seems likely, then much of the original sound and resonance is irrecoverable. Even so, many faint details are heard more clearly on headphones, and the muted sonorities can be picked out. Yet with the profusion of excellent studio recordings of Carmina Burana available, of equivalent artistic merit and with much better sound quality, this historic disc is only recommended for Wand specialists.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Carmina Burana, scenic cantata for soloists, choruses & orchestra|