O Fortuna

Carl Orff

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Carl Orff

Carl Orff (German: [ɔʁf]; (1895-07-10)10 July 1895 – (1982-03-29)29 March 1982) was a German composer and music educator, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana (1937). The concepts of his Schulwerk were influential for children's music education. more »


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Section: Imperatrix Mundi  (Empress of the World)

O Fortuna                              O Fortune,
velut luna                              like the moon
statu variabilis,                      you are changeable,
semper 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 ut 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 mora                             without delay
corde pulsum tangite;            pluck the vibrating strings;
quod per sortem                    since Fate
sternit fortem,                       strikes down the strong man,
mecum omnes plangite!         everyone weep with me!

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