Carmina Burana: Orff the Wall Libretto

In 1935–1936 Carl Orff composed Carmina Burana, a cantata based on 24 medieval poems in vulgar Latin, Old French, and Middle High German.  The work was first performed in Frankfurt in 1937.  It opens and closes with the Latin “O Fortuna”, a poem dating from the 13th century, which is the best known part of the composition.  Since few modern audiences are likely to understand medieval Latin, they’re likely to hear other things, for example:

Here are the proper words, in English and Latin.


Author: John Walker

Founder of, Autodesk, Inc., and Marinchip Systems. Author of The Hacker's Diet. Creator of

4 thoughts on “Carmina Burana: Orff the Wall Libretto”

  1. Thrilling!  It makes a great ballet, too.  I hope you’ve seen the ballet accompanied by full live chorus!
    It’s about the farce which was religious institutional life.


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