Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pluck The Vibrating Strings; Since Fate Strikes Down The String Man!

Carl Orff was born in Munich, Germany and came from a Bavarian family that was very active in the German military. His father's regimental band supposedly had often played the compositions of young Orff.

Orff's association with the Nazi party has been alleged, but never conclusively established. His Carmina Burana was hugely popular in Nazi Germany after its premiere in Frankfurt in 1937, receiving numerous performances. But the composition with its unfamiliar rhythms was also denounced with racist taunts. He was one of the few German composers under the Nazi regime who responded to the official call to write new music for A Midsummer Night's Dream after the music of Felix Mendelssohn had been banned — others refused to cooperate in this. But Orff had already composed music for this play as early as 1917 and 1927, long before this was a favour for the Nazi government.

Orff is most known for Carmina Burana (1937), a "scenic cantata". It is the first of a trilogy that also includes Catulli Carmina and Trionfo di Afrodite. Carmina Burana reflected his interest in medieval German poetry. Together the trilogy is called Trionfi, or "triumphs". The composer described it as the celebration of the triumph of the human spirit through sexual and holistic balance. The work was based on thirteenth-century poetry found in a manuscript dubbed the Codex latinus monacensis found in a Bavarian monastery in 1803 and written by the Goliards; this collection is also known as Carmina Burana. While "modern" in some of his compositional techniques, Orff was able to capture the spirit of the medieval period in this trilogy, with infectious rhythms and easy tonalities. The medieval poems, written in an early form of German and Latin, are often racy, but without descending into smut.

Naïve is industrial rock group KMFDM's fifth album, released in 1990. It is out of print due to copyright infringement: the seventh track, Liebeslied (Unedited), used unauthorized samples from a recording of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana (O Fortuna). A common misbelief is that the album was pulled immediately after its release; in actuality, it had been out for three years before it was recalled. Copies today are rare and considered collector's items, often fetching high prices at auction. The album was recorded in Hamburg, Germany.


All of the other tracks on the album, except for the original mixes of "Die Now-Live Later" and "Go to Hell" were subsequently available on other discs. The album was re-released as Naïve/Hell to Go, with some songs remixed, in 1994.

A digitally remastered reissue of Naïve was released on November 21, 2006, along with Money and Angst. It was reissued with an edited version of the track "Liebeslied" without the offending sample. It also features the remixes that initially appeared on 1994's Naïve/Hell to Go album.

KMFDM - Liebeslied (Live 1992)

The remastered version of "Liebeslied", according to the CD booklet, is "Different from the original only in that the 'O Fortuna' samples have been removed. No other elements of the song have been altered". However, if you compare the original version to the reissued edit, the original is around 30 seconds longer. This is due to the sections of the song where the 'O Fortuna' samples should be being shortened.

Also, if you listen very carefully to the reissued version of Liebeslied, you can just about hear the reminants of the 'O Fortuna' sample, just before the first chorus (around the 1:10 mark).

This album is arguably KMFDM's most "metal" album. Also on Naive is "Godlike", which has been reinterpreted a lot, but this is their most aggressive version, quite possibly containing a riff borrowed from Slayer's Angel of Death .

On-again-off-again KMFDM contributor and core member Raymond Watts put out a solo album under the moniker PIG in 1988, one year before Naive was recorded, called A Poke in the Eye... With A Sharp Stick, which also happened to be out of print (reissued in Japan only in 1998 with different cover) for reasons that don't seem to have anything to do with Carl Orff, although you'll find his sample as well as one possibly of Metallica on the first track of the album.

PIG - It Tolls For Thee (Pig's Breath)(LP)

PIG - Shit For Brains

PIG - Poke In The Eye Search on EBAY

Therion - O Fortuna

*Note: The title of this blog is based off of a misspelling I found while searching for and within the lyrics to O Fortuna. I found it to be poigniant, so no knit-picking is necessary for that portion*

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