This new version of Carmina Burana has been praised for its stripped-down approach, which eliminates some of its cod-medievalism. But like Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, it's that primeval spirit which gives Orff's masterwork much of its mythopoeic appeal.
Supported by crystalline soprano Patricia Petibon, stalwart tenor Hans-Werner Bunz and rugged baritone Christian Gerhaher, Harding's interpretation throws a different light on the work's rhythmic drive, which here seems to reflect the new, mechanical forces powering the early 20th century. The popular "O Fortuna" doesn't lack gusto, but it's neatly balanced by the subtlety of the choir and the sonorities under-pinning the vocals on "Veris leta facies".
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