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katya-oddio on 06/06/2011 at 09:00AM

Carmina Burana

Any fan of Hollywood soundtracks should know composer Carl Orff's Carmina Burana (album). Countless films and trailers employ it, especially the ominous first movement, "O Fortuna."


The Carmina Burana, or Codex Buranus, is a medieval manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts dating to about 1230 AD. Several more pages were bound with it into a small folder in the Late Middle Ages.

The authors were theological students who worked within and satirized the Catholic Church. They protested through song, poetry, and performance the growing contradictions within the Church, such as financial abuses and the failure of the Crusades. Pieces also address everyday subjects such as the "fickleness of fortune and wealth, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of Spring, and the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust."

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