Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oh Four Tuna

O Fortuna is actually a medieval Latin Goliardic poem written early in the 13th century.  Some time around 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.  Orff's musical setting of the poem has become immensely popular and has been performed by countless classical and popular music artists. It features in numerous movies and television commercials and has become one of the most played classical music pieces in the past 75 years.

If you listen closely you're realise it's a song all about food.

The original medieval poem is a complaint about fate and the Roman giddess Fortuna, the personification of luck.  Here's the original  Latin Goliardic version with translation:
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!

O Fortune,
like the moon
you are changeable,
ever waxing
and waning;
hateful life
first oppresses
and then soothes
as fancy takes it;
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,
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!


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