Monday, September 10, 2012

Carl Orff`s "O Fortuna" (History and Lyric Translation)

Taken from Wikipedia

"O Fortuna" is a medieval Latin Goliardic poem written early in the 13th century, part of the collection known as the Carmina Burana. It is a complaint about fate and Fortuna, a goddess in Roman mythology and the personification of luck
In 1935–36, "O Fortuna" was set to music by the German composer Carl Orff as a part of movement "Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi" of his cantata Carmina Burana, which it opens and closes. It opens on a slower pace with thumping drums and choir that drops quickly into a whisper building slowly into a steady crescendo of drums and short string and horn notes peaking on one last long powerful note and ending abruptly. A performance takes a little over two and one-half minutes.

                                                      THE POEM                                                        
    Latin                              English     
 O Fortuna                       O Fortune     
                                                 velut luna                       like the moon 
                                                 statu variabilis               you are changeable 
                                                 sember crescis                ever waxing  
                                                 aut decrescis                  and waning
                                                 vita detestabilis             hateful life 
                                                 nunc obdurat                first oppresses
                                                 et tunc curat                 and then soothes
                                                 ludo mentis aciem        as fancy takes it
                                                 egestatem                      poverty
                                                 potestatem                    and power                                             
                                                 dissolvit et glaciem      it melts them like ice

                                                 Sors immanis               fate - monstrous
                                                 et inanis                      and empty 
                                                 rota tu volubilis          you whirling wheel
                                                 status malus                you are malevolent
                                                 vana salus                   well-being is vain 
                                                 semper dissolubilis     and always fades to nothing
                                                 obumbrata                   shadowed
                                                 et velata                       and veiled
                                                 michi quoque niteris   you plague me too 
                                                 nunc per ludum           now through the game
                                                 dorsum nudum             i bring my bare back 
                                                 fero tui sceleris            to your villainy

                                                sors salutis                    fate is against me 
                                                et virtutis                      in health  
                                                michi nunc contraria   and virtue
                                                est affectus                    driven on
                                                et defectus                     and weighted down
                                                semper in angaria        always enslaved 
                                                Hac in hora                  So at this hour
                                                sine more                      without delay
                                     corde pulsum tangite  pluck the vibriating strings                                           
                                               quod per sortem             since Fate 
                                               sternit fortem               strikes down the strong man   
                                        mecum omnes plangite!     everyone weep with me! 


No comments:

Post a Comment