22 February 2009

Having fun with the Carmina Burana

Recently, I started reading the great blog called Bad Astronomy. Bad Astronomy deals with astronomy of course and its primary writer, Phil Plait,  touches on other branches of science regularly. The whole endeavor is peppered with a kind of sophomoric intellectualism and I can't get enough of it. Anyhow on Friday, Phil Plait wrote an amusing piece about pareidolia. Pareidolia is listening to something and hearing words and patterns that aren't really there.

To illustrate his point, he posted this video that's had me laughing since Friday.


That's O Fortuna from Karl Orff's Carmina Burana and it has to be one of the most stirring arrangements ever composed for a chorus. If you ever get the chance to see it performed live please drop what you're doing and go. It's at once so primal and so passionate you'd have to be a cadaver not to be affected by it. If you're interested in the lyrics, here they are in Latin as performed:
O Fortuna
velut luna                        
statu variabilis,                 
semper crescis                    
aut decrescis;                   
vita detestabilis                
nunc obdurat                     
et tunc curat                     
ludo mentis aciem,                 
dissolvit ut glaciem.               

Sors immanis                       
et inanis,                          
rota tu volubilis,                 
status malus,                       
vana salus                         
semper dissolubilis,                
et velata                           
michi quoque niteris;              
nunc per ludum                      
dorsum nudum                       
fero tui sceleris.                  

Sors salutis                       
et virtutis                         
michi nunc contraria,              
est affectus                        
et defectus                         
semper in angaria.                  
Hac in hora                        
sine mora                           
corde pulsum tangite;               
quod per sortem                    
sternit fortem,                    
mecum omnes plangite!    

If your Latin's not up to snuff and you'd like a translation, you can find one here. Be warned though, these lyrics aren't what I'd call uplifting. That's OK though, uplifting lyrics are overrated.


  1. HAHA! I was just thinking about this! On Prarie Home Companion they did a version about Minnesota. It was hilarious!!!

  2. Isn't it a riot? I will never listen to O Fortuna again without hearing the lyrics "saucy codpiece/ ate spleen of niece." Thanks for the comment!

  3. Uh oh. The copyright police pulled the video. Dang.

  4. Crap! This video was priceless and now I can't find it anywhere.


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