Eskimo Nebula

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jess Tells Tales: What was that song about? Teachers lie about things.

Hi again!
I know, aren't you surprised to be having another post soon after the last?
Maybe it's the cold temperatures that encourage my fingers to type incessantly or recant tales in order to keep my brain from freezing.

In this installment I have a short anecdote from my choir days. I had a good time in choir when we were singing, but not so much when dealing with the cliques and politics of favortism etc. There were definitely a lot of people who thought they were 'Divas, all that an a bag of chips, yes folks,' but yeah...

I love languages; so it was always fun to sing in Spanish, Japanese, Kisawahili and of course a lot of songs in Latin. I always loved singing Vivaldi, Brahms, John Rutter, well you get the idea. We had to sing  'O Fortuna,' from the Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, for one of our yearly shows.

Here is a video from youtube; if you don't immediately recognize the name of this piece. It gets used in so many things, adverts, movie trailers. You name it, they've probably used it for whatever or whichever purpose.

Carmina Burana Wheel

Okay, so now that you've said 'Oh yeahhhhh, I know that one!,' we'll continue with the story now.
It's a very dramatic and ominous sounding piece; so you can imagine how many epic and horror movies have employed this piece of music. During one of our rehearsals, one of my classmates asked what the piece was about and my choir director proceeded to say 'It's about this woman named Fortuna, who is being condemned to death by stoning.' I heard her say that and was thinking to myself 'Uhhhh, no it's not.'
I never studied Latin, but I've studied plenty of Romance languages to understand the Latin lyrics.
Here are the lyrics courtesy of  the Wikipedia article:

Original Latin:

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!
This is a beautiful blue moon!
Now the English translation:


like the moon

you are changeable,
ever waxing
and waning;
hateful life
first oppresses
and then soothes
as the sharp mind 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!

Yeah, my choir director was pretty far off from the subject, although there is a slim chance that they were just trying to shut up the students to speed along the rehearsal, but you can decide the truth for yourselves.

Short and sweet one, for today. I hope that you enjoyed it!

Love and Well Being,

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