-- Carmina Burana --
Carmina Burana is a large German manuscript from which Carl Orff drew his famous modern setting.
The manuscript was discovered in a Benedictine monastery in the mid-19th century in Bavaria, and subsequently named Carmina Burana. It is very extensive, with lyrics from Occitania, France, England, Scotland, Catalonia, Castile, Germany and beyond. Many texts are in Latin. However, the majority of the texts do not include melodies (which is not uncommon for compositions of the time). These have to be recreated based on the structure of texts or other cues (such as pitch), or other markers alluding to well-known medieval melodies from other sources.
The include of Gregorian chant, and other musical styles such as the music of Troubadours, Trouveres, and Minnesingers can be heard distinctly. In that tradition, many of these songs are far from sacred texts, but rather can be ribald and scathing at times in their wit toward the world in which they were composed. Yet there are also graceful love songs and other wonderful pieces here, too.
Carl Orff took many of the pieces and put them together as a complete set with new orchestrations - it was a lofty ambition, as could be seen from the subtitle Orff gave to the piece: Cantiones profanae contoribus et choris cantandae comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis (which roughly translates into 'Secular [or even profane] songs for solo vocalist and choir with instruments and magical pictures'). Orff made statements about seeking the spiritual in this music, but in fact neither the lyrics nor the music is really church-appropriate.