Orff : Catulli CarminaPraga, 1991 (Audio)
Director: Vaclav Smetacek
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Catulli Carmina (Ludi Scaenici) is a cantata by Carl Orff dating from 1940-1943.
The work sets the texts of Catullus to music. Orff himself provided the text, in Latin, of the opening.
Catulli Carmina is part of Trionfi, the musical triptych that also includes the Carmina Burana and Trionfo di Afrodite.
It is scored for a full mixed choir, soprano and tenor soloists, and an entirely percussive orchestra - possibly inspired by Stravinsky's Les noces - consisting of four pianos, timpani, bass drum, 3 tambourines, triangle, castanets, maracas, suspended and crash cymbals, antique cymbal (without specified pitch), tam-tam, lithophone, metallophone, 2 glockenspiels, wood block, xylophone, and tenor xylophone.
This composition is another example of Carl Orff's use of orchestra, percussion and action on stage. The orchestra only plays in the framework story, whereas in the Catullus play itself, the soloists are only accompanied by the chorus, who takes the part of a Greek choros.
The piece experiments with repeated phrases and syncopated rhythms even more so than Carmina Burana. Scholars have debated the reason why this is such a lesser-known work compared to its predecessor for many years. Most of them have decided that, with the fall of Nazi Germany and the depressed feeling of Europe in the aftermath of World War II, it simply didn't have the opportunity to be presented to any large audience for a long time. Even now, it is one of Orff's least performed works.
The story tells of Catullus, a lovesick young man who falls in love with Lesbia, a woman who does not remain faithful to him. In this way, the piece also requires a male and female soloist to portray each of these two roles, respectively. The text also contains a discussion of love, between on the one side, a group of young men and women, and in contrast, a group of old men.
1 - cui dono lepidum nouum libellum
2 - passer. deliciae meae puellae
2b - tam gratum est mihi quam ferunt puellae
3 - lugete o Veneres Cupidinesque
4 - phaselus ille quem uidetis hospites
5 - uiuamus mea Lesbia. atque amemus
6 - Flaui delicias tuas Catullo
7 - quaeris quot mihi basiationes
8 - miser Catulle. desinas ineptire