When Harmoniens chorus and orchestra first performed Carmina Burana in 1956, it was assumed that it was the first time its text had been presented in Bergen.
However, it turns out that deep in the ruins of the catastrophic fire at Bryggen (Bergen’s wharf) the year before, lay a small pine needle on which folk had once etched the text from the collection of poems that 700 years later became the basis for Carl Orff’s choral masterpiece. This needle, only 114 mm long with a cross-section of 9×9 mm, had inscriptions on three sides and was found in Nordre Gullskoen, which is the area where today lies Bryggens Museum and the neighboring SAS-hotel.
The text is from Amor habet superos and Axe Phebus aureo – two love poems presented in “Codex Burana” which Orff used extensively. It was found in the rubble remaining after the fire of 1332, and therefore can be dated to the last half of the 1200’s. The artefact is featured in “Norges innskrifter med de yngre runer” and can today be seen in Bryggens Museum.
“Codex Burana” consists of more than 230 lyrical poems. And although the two love poems are not included in Orff’s “Carmina Burana”, this inconspicuous little needle reveals that in any case that some of the text for “Codex Burana” were known by the people of Bergen more than 700 years ago.
The complete Codex Burana is kept in Bibliotheca Augustana, Augsburg, Germany.