The Boston Camerata :: Carmina Burana

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Carmina Burana by The Boston Camerata

Originally posted on Epinions

Even if you are not drawn to the scholarly and strictly by-the-book rendering of Carmina Burana by the Boston Camerata, the album will prove a substantial source of medieval music to dance to at a Renaissance Fair! The Boston Camerata, under the supervision of Music Director Emeritus Joel Cohen and Artistic Director Anne Azéma, has been performing medieval, renaissance, and baroque music since the 50s. Many of these old songs have only survived in lyrical form, but the original arrangements have been lost in time, and they require painstaking research to reconstruct before the Camerata can play them.


Carmina Burana is a compilation of poems written by 13th century monks, discovered in 19th century at the monastery of Benedikbeurn in Bavaria. It is known that these songs traveled all over Europe with troubadours, and were made popular by the witticism, sarcasm, and even sensuality that are so characteristic of this 800-year-old collection. The turbulence, misrule, and corruption prevalent in Europe of the Dark Ages can be experienced to the fullest from this first-hand account by monks, who, apparently, were not at all ignorant of the social stigma that plagued the continent.

The music of the album is truly original, and gracefully done by musicians well-versed in medieval instruments including hurdy-gurdy, shawm, lute, tambourine, harp, lute, fiddle, recorder, slide trumpet, and guiterne. The group is complete with expert vocal performers: soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, and baritone. Together, they create an amazingly accurate medieval atmosphere, which — even if you do not understand the Latin, Middle German, French, or Provençal lyrics — is sure to entertain you in a unique manner.

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