Corvus Corax – O Varium Fortune 

Corvus Corax is a German group that started out trying to re-create Medieval music on authentic copies of Medieval instruments. Studying the Carmina Burana, they deciphered the ancient form of musical notation used in Medieval times to re-create an authentic musical idiom to accompany the lyrics. In contrast, Orff was influenced by Renaissance and Baroque forms when composing his music for his Carmina Burana.

In this performance, Corvus Corax is joined by soprano Ingeborg Schopf.

Of further interest, Fortuna was a late Roman goddess who happened to survive into the Renaissance, in spite of the prevailing Christian religion.

Lyrics in Latin and English translation:

O varium fortunae lubricum                  O the slippery inconstancy of Fortune,
Dans dubium tribunal iudicum,              A court giving a dubious verdict,
Non modicum paras huic praemium,     You prepare a great reward for those
Quem colere tua vult gratia.                  You foster with your favour 
Et petere rotae sublimia,                       [You let them] aim for the top of the                                                                           wheel
Dans dubia tamen, praepostere           Yet give dubiously, preposterously
De stercore pauperem erigens,            Raising a poor man from the gutter,
De rhetore consulem eligens.               Selecting an orator to become a ruler

Aedificat Fortuna diruit;                         Fortune builds and tears down             Nunc abdicat quos prius coluit               Now abandoning those it previously                                                                           fostered


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