»Following the success of Carmina Burana, the wish was soon expressed by several theatres that I should add a second work to this solitary composition which did not fill an entire evening.
After numerous plans which were repeatedly abandoned, the idea occurred to me in 1941 of resuscitating the Catullus choral compositions which had sunk so swiftly into oblivion, but still remained dear to my heart.«
On the occasion of the first performance in Leipzig, K.H. Ruppel commented:
»One is again confronted by the same exuberant vitality which in Carmina Burana also stands in opposition to the irrevocable power of fate with an unbroken, defiant ›nevertheless‹. The inner relationship between both works lies in the consonance of the attitude to life which permeates both compositions. [...]
The compositional medium: one is again astonished by the audaciousness and assurance of new combinations, the juxtaposition of accompanied and unaccompanied songs, choruses and solo sections and strictly composed and freely declaimed vocal parts, the fascinating power of rhythmical patterns and the sheer tonal phenomenon of an orchestra consisting of four pianos, four timpani and around twenty tuned and untuned percussion instruments.«
 CO-Dok IV,91;  CO-Dok IV,144
Abb.: Inge Mantler, OZM; 2 Rudolf Betz (Deutches Theatermuseum); Madeline Winkler-Betzendahl (Deutsches Theatermuseum München)
Audio: Wolfgang Schäfer - WER 6275-2