It was in 1934 that, thanks to a secondhand bookseller in Wurzberg, Germany, Carl Orff came into the possession of a volume of medieval poetry which had been published in 1847 by Johann Andreas Schmeller. Schmeller's edition was based on a manuscript discovered in 1803 at the Bavarian Abbey of Benediktbeuren and probably written in Styria or South Tyrol between 1220 and 1250. It is to Schmeller that we owe the title of the anthology, Carmina Burana (Songs of Beuren). The manuscript contains more than 200 songs and poems arranged thematically and written in medieval Latin and Middle High German.
Composer Carl Orff (1895-1982) used 25 of these poems to create a "Scenic Cantata" illustrating Man's inevitable rise and.fall on the great wheel of "fortuna.' The premiere of Orff 's- Carmina Burana was on june 8, 1937 at Frankfurt Opera. Since that time many staged versions of this work have been performed around the world, including several fully choreographed ballets. Ms. Taylor-Corbett has chosen to set her story in the present. She has culled from the poems the essence of their emotion to evoke a tale of love, greed and temptation that relates to modern times.