Sunday, May 1

What to do when Fortune, Empress of the World, is giving you a hard time?

         Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi 

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 in 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
always enslaved.
So at this hour
without delay
pluck the vibrating strings;
since Fate
strikes down the strong man,
everybody weep with me! *

I can think of no better lyrics to convey the mayhem of the present time in Europe and the United States than the Reprise to Carmina Burana, as interpreted by Carl Orff's masterpiece.

So, what to do when you see madness and weeping all round?  Pretend, of course, that you're perfectly capable of wresting meaning from nothingness. Dance and play a tambourine along with Fate as if She's a really nice person. Open your mouth and sing from the bottom of your heart to Whatever must surely rule over an empty whirling wheel.

The go-for-broke version of Orff's Reprise is conducted by Seiji Ozawa with the Berlin Philharmonic, Shin-Yu Kai Chorus, and Boys Choir of the Staats-und Domchor Berlin; Kathleen BattleSir Thomas Allen, and Frank Lopardo soloists. 1990 Philips DVD video. 

* "These lyrics are copyrighted and are published at Classical Net
with the permission of Schott Music International."


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