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Spring Awakening

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: Medieval priests knew how to party!

Medieval documents give colorful accounts of young men having wild parties in order to “get the sins out of their system” before devoting themselves to life in a monastery. The most famous examples of these writings come from the codex Carmina burana, and we are all very familiar with Carl Orff’s musical setting of these texts. The texts from this codex were written by Goliards, clerical students studying in monasteries who satirized the Church in their writings. These two excerpts from Orff’s setting we just played come from Part 2 of the work, titled “In Spring.” The baritone soloist chants a lyrical song celebrating the arrival of the season before the chorus joins in, celebrating in its own rousing and colorful way!

Music Heard On This Episode

Carl Orff: “Ecce gratum” from Carmina burana
Chorus and Orchestra of the Deutsch Oper Berlin; Eugen Jochum, conductor — Carl Orff: Carmina burana (Deutsche Grammophon, 1996)
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