Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Carmina Burana – O Fortuna

Posted: April 11, 2015 in media-culture
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It’s that one cool classical song they always play when something evil or scary or BADASS is going to happen! It sounds satanical, but it’s actually a religious song (pawn intended?)

Can’t actually recall when I have first heard it (most probably in an alien movie soundtrack 😛 ), but I was captivated! It was AWESOME. One of the most awesome music compositions I had heard till then and still one of the most powerful, energetic and full of strength pieces of music. The composer is a German guy, Carl Off, who took a collection of (24) medieval poems and made amazing music out of them – more precisely in 1937 – first audition was nearby, in Frankfurt Opera.

My favourite is O Fortuna, the piece which starts and ends the collection. “In this piece, the author talks about to Fortuna (the goddess of luck in the Roman mythology) – praising her greatness, as well as her malevolence”. The rest of the songs cover a wide range of topics, from 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.

Well, I have recently heard it in Tonhalle, and I was not disappointed. It was as amazing, even more so, live than on YouTube!

Nearly 100 musicians, 100 brains in sync for more than 1 hour, an engineering masterpiece at the very least. Every time I hear such powerful pieces of music, there is tiny devil in my head chuckling mischievously: Beethoven would have loved this!

O Fortuna vs. Final Fantasy

Luceafarul / The Lucifer – the first of his poems I’ve got on my hands. I could not let it go. I was maybe 10 and didn’t understand much of the philosophical message underneath it. What I did enjoy was its rhythm and the story of the human and the falling star. I would not understand for many years ahead why the girl didn’t die to become a star. Somehow, I still don’t understand, and for sure the dry lectures of my Literature professors were not able to clear things out for me.

Luceafarul is officially the longest (98 stanzas) love story poem ever written. Ref: World Record Academy. So, yeah, next time people complain why Romanians talk too much: well, it’s in our blood, apparently 🙂 Also: we talk a lot about love and we love with all our hearts, and suffer cruelly when that love is not shared. For more info on this, just have a look at The Lucifer / Evening Star –  on This is the English version, the Romanian version too is Luceafarul. Pretty long poem, and some time in gymnasium I actually knew it by heart.

Another one of my favourite poems:

The Lake (EN) / Der See (DE) / Lacul (RO)


New York Times called her “the Maria Callas of this century” [citation needed]

The one and only. BBC made this nice documentary about her – I watch it online on YouTube.

Nice insights of Bucharest, the Romanian Athene (when she and her sister were sneaking in to listen to opera performances) and the Romanian Conservatory classrooms.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

… more parts? Unfortunately, this are the only pieces of the documentary I was able to find on YouTube. I’m sure the entire series can be found on the BBC website.

Apparently a very difficult to handle diva, but ambitious and stern in her path of perfection. Daughter of a train conductor, she lived the simplest life, so there was no other way than being perfect to make it into the opera world. He was born in 1965, in Adjud, and had her beautiful voice remarked during a performance in school, where she stood apart from being “too loud” – the soprano tells the BBC reporter.

She has been awarded multiple honors and awards, which you can find listed on wikipedia.

The one thing which impressed me immediately about her is the performance of Habanera, which personally I liked better than Maria Callas’ – which almost never happens, with almost any performance that I know of! [The only exception I could think of right now is Anna Netrebko’s interpretation of La Traviata 😀 ] One simply _cannot_ beat Maria Callas. (yes, the Maria Callas before losing weight and losing also her nice dramatic voice)

For those who know already what this is about, this post won’t bring anything new. Personally, my limited knowledge in history and culture makes me enjoy (re)discovering some interesting facts of the past.

For example, yesterday I was reading Galileo’s Letter to Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany, granddaughter of Catherine de Medici. It has about 10 pages (773 lines, as numbered in my version), and it shows the astronomer’s response to people criticising his theory on Sun being the centre of the known Universe, on Earth revolving around the Sun and around itself. People were criticising this theory in his absence, at a dinner gathering in Duchess’ house (unsure about the place, though). Apparently the Duchess and another guy were the only ones arguing with Galileo’s opponents. Galileo has later found out about this discussion and sent a long letter to Christina, defending in a humble and argumentative way his theory, not claiming it to be the absolute truth, but also dismissing accusations of his theory being “against the Bible”. I enjoyed reading his well-constructed arguments on Copernicus’ history with the Church, and pointing out something that many of the religious people I know today still don’t see:

297          But I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who
298   has endowed us with senses, reason and intellect has intended us to
299   forego their use and by some other means to give us knowledge
300   which we can attain by them. He would not require us to deny
301   sense and reason in physical matters which are set before our eyes
302   and minds by direct experience or necessary demonstrations.

A nice website summarising facts around Galileo and his creations in the Galileo Project.


nice book on Ancient Hebrew

Posted: February 19, 2012 in media-culture
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