About this Recording
8.550196 - ORFF, C.: Carmina Burana (Jenisová, Doležal, Kusnjer, Slovak Philharmonic Chorus, Slovak Radio Symphony, Gunzenhauser)

Carl Orff (1895 - 1982)

Carmina Burana

Carl Orff was born in Munich in 1895, where he studied at the Academy of Music, later occupying positions as director of music at the Munich Kammerspiele, the Mannheim National theater and the Landestheater at Darmstadt. In 1919 he returned to Munich and five years later established with Dorothee Guenther the Guentherschule for gymnastics, music and dance. The result was his influential Schulwerk, which has had a marked influence on the teaching of music, with its use of tuned percussion instruments, ostinato rhythms and creative aims, associated with physical movement.

It was Orff's work as conductor of the Munich Bach Society from 1930 to 1933 that led to the composition of his most influential choral work, Carmina Burana, a setting of secular medieval Latin, French and Middle High German poems from a manuscript preserved in the Bavarian abbey of Benediktbeuren. This stage cantata marked a new beginning for Orff as a composer, and his later work explored still further this very characteristic form of Gesamtkunstwerk, drawing on a variety of sources, from ancient Greece to medieval Europe.

The power that lies behind the music of Carmina Burana is primitive, even barbarous. Insistent rhythms, ostinato repetitions and a complete abnegation of contemporary chromatic or atonal musical idioms, make the work compelling, unforgettable and physically attractive in its simple energy and strength.

Eva Jenisová
Eva Jenisová joined the Slovak National Opera in the Slovak capital Bratislava in 1988. As a lyric soprano her roles include Zerlina in Mozart's Don Giovanni and Micaela in Bizet's Carmen.

Vladimir Dolezal
The tenor Vladimir Dolezal was trained at the Prague Conservatory and has been a member of the Prague Madrigalists since 1972. He joined the Prague National Theatre as a soloist in 1988.

Ivan Kusnjer
Ivan Kusnjer studied at the Prague College of Music and Drama and joined the Prague National Theatre as a soloist in 1982. His roles there have included Figaro, Rigoletto and the Count of Luna.

Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
The Czechoslovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), the oldest symphonic ensemble in Slovakia, was founded in 1929 at the instance of Milos Ruppeldt and Oskar Nedbal, prominent personalities in the sphere of music. Ondrej Lenard was appointed its conductor in 1970 and in 1977 its conductor-in-chief. The orchestra has given successful concerts both at home and abroad, in West and East Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy, and Great Britain.

Stephen Gunzenhauser
The American conductor Stephen Gunzenhauser was educated in New York, continuing his studies at Oberlin, at the Salzburg Mozarteum, at the New England Conservatory and at Cologne State Conservatory. His period at the last of these was the result of a Fulbright Scholarship, followed by an award from the West German Government and a first prize in the conducting competition held in the Spanish town of Santiago.

During the last two decades, Gunzenhauser has enjoyed a varied and distinguished career, winning popularity in particular for his work with the Delaware Symphony, an orchestra which he has recently conducted on an eight-concert tour of Portugal. His other engagements have included appearances with orchestras in Europe and America, from the RIAS Orchestra of Berlin, the Hessischer Rundfunk Orchestra of Frankfurt and Dublin Radio Orchestra to the Charlotte Orchestra of North Carolina, and orchestras in Victoria, B.C., Spokane and Knoxville.

For the Marco Polo label Stephen Gunzenhauser has recorded works by Bloch, Liadov, Glière and Rubinstein, and for NAXOS Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.5, Beethoven Overtures, the Borodin Symphonies and the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony.

At present he is working on a project to record all the symphonies and symphonic poems of Dvořák for NAXOS.

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