Monday, June 29, 2015

Music Monday ~ Cancerian Carl Orff's O Fortuna! & matters related

Everyone must have heard O Fortuna! at least once during their lifetime. It pops up regularly in movies and TV commercials. I first heard it many Moons ago as background music to a TV ad for Old Spice aftershave - in the days when aftershave as a male accessory was in its infancy.

Years later I discovered that Carmina Burana, a cantata by German composer Carl Orff (whose natal Sun is in Cancer) from which O Fortuna! is taken, was derived from a set of mediaeval poems. These poems were discovered in a monastery in Bavaria in 1803. They are not all on sacred subjects, as one might expect from writings found in a monastery, but include poems and songs in Latin, French and German about love, lust, gambling and the trials and tribulations of life on Earth. Carl Orff chose 24 from the much larger collection of poems, and set them to music.

O Fortuna! sits at the beginning and end of the cantata he composed in the mid 1930s. There is a connection between O Fortuna! and the tarot card from the major arcana: Wheel of Fortune. It's a convoluted journey from an aftershave advert to the tarot deck! Card illustrated is from the 15th century Vinconti-Sforza deck.
The Wheel of Fortune turns I go down, demeaned; another is raised up; far too proud sits the king at the summit -- let him fear ruin! for under the axis we read about Queen Hecuba.

Carl Orff was born on 10 July 1895 in Munich, Germany at 3:15AM. Sun conjunct Jupiter, and Mercury all in Cancer, with Cancer rising. His natal chart can be viewed here, at Astrodatbank. Zodiac sign Cancer is ruled by the Moon. Carl Orff's Carmina Burana begins with a direct reference to his ruling luminary. Translation:
O Fortuna O how Fortune, inopportune, apes the moon's inconstancy: waxing, waning, losing, gaining, life treats us detestably: first oppressing then caressing shifts us like pawns in her play: destitution, restitution, mixes and melts them away. Fate, as vicious as capricious, whirling your merry-go-round: evil doings, worthless wooings, crumble away to the ground: darkly stealing, unrevealing, working against me you go: for your measure of foul pleasure I bare my back to your blow. Noble actions, true transactions, no longer fall to my lot: powers to make me then to break me all play their part in your plot: now seize your time - waste no more time, pluck these poor strings and let go: since the strongest fall the longest let the world share in my woe.
Orff has, over the years, had some justifiably bad press, related to his acquiescence during the Nazi regime, and betrayal of his close friend Kurt Huber. Huber was a founder of the resistance movement, White Rose. Perhaps Orff was a weak and selfish man who, while not being a member of the Nazi party, had achieved acceptance of his music by the ruling regime. He was not courageous enough to forego this in order to offer aid when his friend was arrested, tortured and executed. Is this a reflection of a typically Cancerian trait: withdrawal from danger and unpleasantness, I wonder. It's best not to judge the guy too harshly. None of us knows what we'd do in his position, in those circumstances. We might think we know -but we really do not.


mike said...

You ask, "Is this a reflection of a typically Cancerian trait: withdrawal from danger and unpleasantness.[?]" The typical hype on Cancer is that they avoid most friction, but if their family and-or home are threatened, beware! Your recent post regarding famous Sun-in-Cancer boxers and the link to the correlation of the Cancer-Capricorn axis providing the most professional boxers may change their image. Sun-in-Cancer has Aries (Mars) at the MC, which may make professional boxing more palatable for their tribe.

I see that Orff's Moon, ruler of his Sun and first house, is opposed to Mars, both in T-square with Uranus. Moon is in Aquarius, ruled by Uranus, Uranus is in Scorpio, ruled by Mars, Mars is in Leo, ruled by his Sun in Cancer, ruled by the Moon. His conscious and subconscious (both luminaries) were always in conflict and agitation (Mars and Uranus). Wiki states that he felt extreme remorse and guilt over his betrayal of Huber. Orff's daughter describes her relationship with him as difficult and distant.

He has an interesting chain of dispositors: his Sun, Mercury, & Jupiter are ruled by Moon in Aquarius; Moon is ruled by Saturn & Uranus in Scorpio, therefore ruled by Mars; Mars in Leo is ruled by Sun in Cancer; Venus, Neptune, and Pluto in Mercury-ruled Gemini & Virgo, with Mercury in Cancer ruled by the Moon. A complex cycling of dispositors. A VERY fragmented person that only knew himself by his actions and reactions at any given moment in extant time.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Boxing Sun Cancerians exhibit physical courage, led by, in the best examples, a quick wit and fast reflexes; but the kind of moral courage needed by someone such as Carl Orff when faced with a scenario involving the Nazis and his friend would be a very different matter, in my opinion. That doesn't mean that Sun in Cancer lacks moral courage though - it depends, as always, on the rest of the chart, and as you've observed, Orff did have a linked yet complex and contrasting astro-network in his nature.

Orff's reaction to the Nazi regime could be seen, in itself as Cancerian defensiveness, I guess.

After the war, along with most artists who had continued to be active under the Nazis, Orff was placed on a blacklist, as someone in potential need of denazification. However, he managed to clear his name with the help of an American friend. Suddenly afraid of being ‘too Nazi’, rather than not Nazi enough, Orff fabricated an elaborate account of his involvement in the Munich resistance group, the White Roses, organised by his friend Kurt Huber. (In fact, he had never had any involvement with the group). In addition, despite Carmina Burana’s success under Hitler, he repeatedly represented the piece as covertly anti-Nazi.

(Defensive yet again!)

mike (again) said...

Maybe he was just misunderstood...LOL!


"And critical opinion has not always been generous: 'The kind of music a gland would write, if a gland could write music' is a typical jibe..."

"And certainly the man who emerges from this mosaic is not an attractive character. Wives came and went according to whether he felt they could help him; his daughter (older than some of his wives) had a father with whom she could not communicate and concludes that 'He didn’t want to have me'. The women in his life speak, without bitterness, of a man who was more at home in the 'dark world' of Greek tragedy than in Catholic Bavaria; who was haunted by guilt, dreamed of witches and would probably have gone mad if it weren't for his music. ... But the most depressing testimony comes from the wife of Kurt Huber, founder of the White Rose resistance group and a friend of Orff’s. Huber’s wife describes his utterly self-centred response to Huber’s arrest ('I’m ruined!'!)."

"Some of Orff’s work is distinctly unsuitable for children, especially the compositions that set Latin texts. His daughter says of Carmina Burana that it was daring of Orff to set texts to Latin. After all, 'Who understands that stuff?' Perhaps the fact that the texts are in a dead language was just as well in the case of Catulli Carmina, where Palmer’s subtitles at one point read 'Beware, I’m going to enter you-- with lust'. There can’t be many other choral works where the choir simply repeats 'Penis, penis penis' (in Latin, of course)."

Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ LOL! Well, it appears Carmina Burana, if translated to today's scene would be comparable to ...I dunno...bawdy Saturday Night Live sketches, Jon Stewart's or John Oliver's commentary put to music...Monty Pythonesque...a bit of vulgar, though slightly intellectual, satire.

A remarkable feature of the intellectual life of the late Middle Ages was the ease and readiness with which scholars and students (and no doubt a good many hangers-on) moved about Europe from one university town to another. There seems to have always been a large number of such people in temporary residence in university towns both in their native countries and in foreign parts. As might be expected, they were not always on good terms with locals who had no connection with, or interest in, intellectual pursuits (such rustici are a frequent butt in the Carmina Burana) and, as their common interests naturally brought them together, they tended to form a class apart, a society to which the terms Wandering Scholars and Ordo Vagorum have been applied. These it was who in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries composed and sung most of the poems of Carmina Burana. Because they were generally without bonds or ties and were not involved in acquiring or maintaining social status, they were not concerned overmuch with the conventions of society, nor were they greatly troubled by the fulminations of religion against worldly pleasures. The Carmina Burana show attitudes not usually associated with the Middle Ages; we see a quite amoral attitude to sex, a fresh appreciation of nature, and a disrespect of the established church which even today's society would find hard to tolerate. The Wandering Scholars were very much concerned with enjoying themselves, they were frank and uninhibited, and were not afraid of attacking or ridiculing people and institutions they did not like. Their poetry was written for the immediate present, to express an emotion or experience, to complain of some current abuse, but chiefly, one may conjecture, to entertain their fellows as they caroused. At its best it has spontaneity and freshness which compensate for its limited range and technique.

Oscar, uh, Bob said...

Carl (Karl?) had Mars-Neptune midpoint on his Sun.

3 days ago. Then you post about this bawdy carol penner.

Awakened by the phone while having a dream about 2 blokes (they have English accent), one at the door wakes friend in the middle of the night, host's phone rings, night visitor (?) answers, has host splitting a gut listening to his conversation. My phone rings, wakes me. After my call "Don't Call Me" from album I had 50 some years ago jumps to mind. I do a search on the internet.

"Don't Call Me " from Bawdy Songs & Backroom Ballads, Vol. 4, which I bought in the early sixties.
Tom Bolynn
Plymouth Town
Two Maidens
Basket of Oysters
Green Grow the Rashes
The Cuckoo's Nest
Sweet Violets
The Money Rolls in
I Used to Work in Chicago
The Old Sea Chest
The Wayward Boy
Don't Call Me
Roll Me Over

Found somehow in my search.

Bargain Book Haul Feb 2014

Twilight said...

Oscar, uh, Bob ~ Oh lordy! There must be something synchronicitous in the! It's hard for me to tell just now though, because our air conditioning went south early this afternoon and the temp in here is messing with my head. We had to take ourselves off to the movies to enjoy their freezer cold temps. this evening. Daft film ("Spy") but it was seemingly below zero in there - luverly - for a couple of hours :-) Now it's back to the tropics again. :-(