O Fortuna (2:47)

Cover of Carl Orff

From Carl Orff and 35 other releases

The uncertainty of Fortune was a regular motif in medieval literature; various symbols and examples of her caprice became commonplace. Of the several poems in the Carmina Burana on this subject the following is certainly not the best; its vagueness suggests that some expressions may have been chosen simply through the demands of rhyme. It is, however, considerably enhanced by the musical setting which Orff has given it. Some phrases deserve comment:

mentis aciem in Classical Latin the words would mean mental perception, but this seems wholly out of place here; perhaps feelings, sensibilities, is what the author meant.

status malus this seems to refer to the instability of Fortune.

est affectus … angaria the last word signifies the service (usually in the form of manual work) which a medieval serf was obliged to render to his lord.

affectus et defectus apparently means willingness and unwillingness: in the translation the concrete has been substituted for the abstract.

cordae pulsum tangite lit. touch the beat of the string.


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  • willingspirit

    Hollywood didn't ruin the song for me.

    21 Aug 12:43am Reply
  • DeValanten

    Always associated with the Vereschagin's picture "Apotheoses of War".

    4 Mar 3:43pm Reply
  • DARKUS_13


    6 Dec 2013 Reply
  • lammasabacthani

    mecum omnes plangite ..... get tired of this? over played? never.... this is part of my daily soundtrack

    5 Nov 2013 Reply
  • Phoenix941


    17 Aug 2013 Reply
  • coller124

    I like this track.

    24 May 2013 Reply
  • DragonWyvern

    Faaantastic ^_^

    28 Feb 2013 Reply
  • gescholle

    Hollywood ruined this song [4]. The whole composition is unknown because of this famous first song.

    26 Jan 2013 Reply
  • enid_coleslaw_

    Hollywood ruined this song [3] I can't even listen to it anymore without being irrationally annoyed. I'll forever associate it with attempts to make something seen ~dramatic~ and ~epic~.

    29 Dec 2012 Reply
  • lorraine_xx

    Hollywood ruined this song [2]

    8 Dec 2012 Reply
  • Cyankali

    As playing a shooter game, this is the reference to get into a flush of.

    21 Nov 2012 Reply
  • veronikesilva


    24 Oct 2012 Reply
  • FloChan

    Born to Step is a kind of modern transcription of this Masterpiece.

    10 Oct 2012 Reply
  • tavitooo


    20 Sep 2012 Reply
  • pythondave

    O Fortune, like the moon, you are changeable, ever waxing, and waning; hateful life, first oppresses, and then soothes, as fancy takes it; poverty, and power, it melts them like ice. Fate – monstrous, and empty, you whirling wheel, you are malevolent, well-being is vain, and always fades to nothing, shadowed, and veiled, you plague me too; now through the game, I bring my bare back, to your villainy. Fate is against me, in health, and virtue, driven on, and weighted down, always enslaved. So at this hour, without delay, pluck the vibrating strings; since Fate, strikes down the strong man, everyone weep with me!

    19 Sep 2012 Reply
  • CityGirl245

    Excalibur!!! This is a masterpiece!

    5 Sep 2012 Reply
  • harvey1963july3


    12 Aug 2012 Reply
  • GraySage

    Hollywood ruined this song

    28 Jul 2012 Reply
  • kclark001

    First heard this watching Only fools and horses when i was a boy. What an absolutely amazing song. Fantastic arrangement

    10 Jun 2012 Reply
  • gianfrancociuff

    senza parole........................

    8 Jun 2012 Reply
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