October 31

In honor of Halloween I give you the one piece of music that has scared the bejesus out of me more than any other. O Fortuna from the cantata Carmina Burana by Carl Orff:

I probably first heard this piece of music on the soundtrack to the 1981 Excalibur movie, although I have since conflated it with every creepy cantata I’ve ever heard.

For instance I was sure that this piece of music was in the Omen movies… and those scared the hell out of me!

I have since learned this piece of music actually is a poem from the 13th or 14th century that was most likely satirical and not at all satanic. Live and learn.

We played my O Fortuna as the clock stuck midnight on Halloween eve for maximum creep effect. My 1960 Columbia Masterworks copy is a recording of The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy. 55 years on it still sounds terror-ific!

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