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The Answer Is Almost Always "O Fortuna"

What's that classical music I heard?

The Answer Is Almost Always "O Fortuna"

Postby kickassclassical » Sat Jul 26, 2008 11:00 pm


If you're new here, and looking for "that one cool classical choir song that they always play when something evil or scary or badass is happening," you're in luck!

The answer is "O Fortuna" by a guy named Carl Orff. It's part of a larger work called "Carmina Burana," and it's a pretty recent piece in classical music terms, written in 1935 (the same year that Parker Brothers released the board game Monopoly).

iTunes (99 cents):
Amazon mp3 (89 cents):

While we're at it, here's a whole shload of trivia about the piece...

"O Fortuna" was first introduced to mainstream media in John Boorman's 1981 film Excalibur. It enjoyed tremendous popularity following the movie's release and has since been frequently incorporated into various cinematic and musical works for dramatic effect.

This practice has since become clichéd and consequently is often parodied, for example at the beginning and end of the 2002 film "Jackass: The Movie," as the theme music for Conan O'Brien's "Evil Puppy," and in "Glee" season 1 episode 7 "Throwdown" as the theme for the conflict between Will Schuester and Sue Sylvester.

It has spawned several sound-a-like pieces of soundtrack and production music.

The piece - that almost sounds satanic but is actually a religious piece - has appeared in many television commercials such as the Carlton Draught 'Big Ad', the barbarian raider advertisements for Capital One credit cards, the opera motif advertisements for Rickard's Red Beer from Molson, and the long running TV advertising campaign for Old Spice aftershave in the United Kingdom.

"O Fortuna" is played at countless sporting events, for tense moments and starting line-up introduction music for teams like Milwaukee Brewers, New England Patriots, Iowa Hawkeyes, Southampton Football Club, Detroit Red Wings, Charlotte Bobcats, University of Connecticut and more.

The verse from "Sors salutis" was used as the entrance theme for The Undertaker's druids at Wrestlemania 14 (XIV).

In 1991, when the band Apotheosis produced a heavily re-sampled version of "O Fortuna," the estate of Carl Orff (who died in 1982) successfully sued to stop the distribution of the record on the grounds of copyright infringement.

It has since been covered and sampled by several musical acts, including Aion, Apoptygma Berzerk, Bullet For My Valentine, DJ Irene, Enigma, Epica, KMFDM, Ministry, Rhydian Roberts, Sepultura, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and more.

It was played at the beginning of every Ozzy Osbourne concert as Ozzy was either lowered onto or entered the stage.

Used in Michael Jackson's teaser "Brace Yourself" at the beginning of the Dangerous World Tour (the version shown on HBO) and on Video Greatest Hits – HIStory.

It is used as bumper music on The Sean Hannity Show.

It is used as tension building music for the British television show The X Factor.

Rachel Maddow used it on her show to underscore her "OFII: O Fortuna Induced Insanity" parody commercials.

The Howard Stern Show has used a parody of the song whenever show producer Gary enters the studio.

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