Recordings of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana are numerous, and many excellent renditions can be found with a little effort, so Daniel Harding's 2010 release on Deutsche Grammophon faces fierce competition from the start. Whether it bests the others is a subjective call only a listener can make, but it is clearly the equal of any of the finest recordings available, and anyone who chooses this version can be sure they're getting an excellent performance of Orff's most popular work. There isn't a false step in this live performance, and one has to listen closely to tell that there is even an audience present. Patricia Petitbon, Hans-Werner Bunz, and Christian Gerhaher are superb singers who bring distinctive character and dramatic feeling to their parts, and the singing of the Tölzer Knabenchor and the Bavarian Radio Choir is clean and clear, with crisp enunciation and transparent harmonies. The support of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is strong and muscular, and a dynamic rhythmic impulse pervades its playing, except for the sections where Orff indicates a static calm. DG's audio is first-rate, so the positions of the musicians are almost discernable, and the dimensions of the space are easy to imagine from the open and deep sound of the recording.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson