Carl Orff

Carl Orff was born in Munich on 10 July 1895. Already in 1900 he was taking piano, cello and organ lessons.  In the same year his first printed work (Eiland, ein Sang vom Chiemsee) was published, and he took his first systematic courses of music theory.  In 1912 Orff composed his first choral work (Also sprach Zarathustra) and an early opera (Gisei, das Opfer, completed in 1913).  From 1913 to 1914, he studied composition at the Munich Akademie der Tonkunst with Anton Beer-Walbrunn and from 1915 to 1919 he worked as musical director at the Muenchner Kammerspiele, the Mannheim Nationaltheater and the Darmstadt Landestheater.  Continuing his studies of composition with Heinrich Kaminski in 1921, Orff began to occupy himself intensely with Bach, Buxtehude, Pachelbel and in particular Monteverdi.

Having been involved in the foundation of the "Guenther-Schule" for gymnastics, music and dance (1924), he became director of the department of "taenzerische Musikerziehung" [music and dance education]. One of Orff's major achievements was the "Orff-Schulwerk Music for Children", an educational method for children, published from 1930 to 1935.  Spreading with an astonishing rapidity and intensity around the world, it is still successfully used (in pedagogy and therapy as well).  Leading a master class for musical and dramatical composition at the Munich Hochschule fuer Musik from 1950 to 1960, he was appointed director of the new Orff Institute at the Mozarteum in Salzburg in 1961.

Orff received the honorary doctorate of the universities of Tubingen (1959) and Munich and the Grand Cross with star and ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany (1972). In 1974 he was awarded the Romano Guardini Prize by the Catholic Academy in Bavaria.

Already from his first compositions, Orff concentrated on text-related music, tending to melt theatre, music, dance and spectacle into a unity, whereat the rhythm of speech often forms the compositional framework.  Orff's fascination for the Middle Ages and antiquity led to works such as the cycle Trionfi (Carmina Burana, 1936, Catulli Carmina, 1943, and Trionfo di Afrodite, 1951) or the trilogy Lamenti (Orpheus, 1924/1939 ,Klage der Ariadne, 1925/1940, and Tanz der Spruden, 1925/1940), as well as the Greek  dramas Antigonae (1949), Oedipus der Tyrann (1959) or Prometheus (1967).  A second group of works are his fairy-tale compositions Der Mond (1938) and Die Kluge (1943), and a third can be seen in works related to his Bavarian homeland: fascinated by the dialect's richness of vowels, Orff created works in Bavarian dialect such as Die Bernauerin (1946).  His last stage work, the mystery play De temporum fine comoedia, was performed for the first time at the Salzburg Festival in 1973. He died in Munich on 29 March 1982.

Scott Publishers

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1937  Carmina Burana 4.00 stars of 5 stars LP
Carl Orff - Carmina Burana [Philadelphia Orchestra Conducted by Eugene Ormandy] Comments:
First part of a trilogy of staged cantatas called Trionfi
This is the first recording, I have heard.
It still sounds pretty nice.

Text

Philadelphia Orchestra Conducted by Eugene Ormandy

1937 Carmina Burana 4.00 stars of 5 stars LP
Carl Orff - Carmina Burana: Chor and Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin-Dirigent: Eugene Jochum Comments:
First part of a trilogy of staged cantatas called Trionfi
This is one of the best performances. It has been very popular for as long as I can remember. Also a favorite piece for tv productions and movies. Very effective in the arrest scene of Mickey and Mallory in  Natural Born Killers. I reserve a higher star-rating for a concert I have heard on (BBC) tv, which is impossible to trace.

Chor und Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin cond. Eugene Jochum

1937 Carmina Burana 4.00 stars of 5 stars CD
Carl Orff - Carmina Burana [David Hill] Comments:
First part of a trilogy of staged cantatas called Trionfi
Nice Recording, but it is not the one I am looking for.

Janice Watson - soprano
James Bowman - countertenor
Donald Maxwell - baritone
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra cond. David Hill

1937 Carmina Burana 4.00 stars of 5 stars DVD-R
Comments:
Sally Matthews - soprano
Lawrence Brownlee - tenor
Christian Gerhaher - baritone
Berlin Radio Choir, Berliner Philharmoniker cond. Simon Rattle

Recorded from BRAVAKLASSIEK TV

1939   Der Mond 3.50 stars of 5 stars LP
Carl Orff - Der Mond Comments:
Ein kleines Welttheater.
1970 revision.

Solists, Choir and Symphony Orchestra of the Bayerische Rundfunk cond. Kurt Eichhorn
Direction: Carl Orff

1943 Catulli Carmina 3.50 stars of 5 stars LP
Carl Orff - Catulli Carmina Comments:
Second part of a trilogy of staged cantatas called Trionfi
Not to be confused with the Carmina Burana.

Soprano, Tenor, Choir, Percussion and four Pianos

Radio-Television Belgrade cond. Borivoje Simic

1943 Die Kluge 4.00 stars of 5 stars LP
Carl Orff - Die Kluge Comments:
Die Geschichte von dem Koening und der klugen Frau.

Solists, Choir and
Symphony Orchestra of the Bayerische Rundfunk cond. Kurt Eichhorn

Direction: Carl Orff
1953 Antigonae 3.50 stars of 5 stars LP
Carl Orff - Antigonae Comments:
Third part of a trilogy of staged cantatas called Trionfi

Ernst Haefliger
Kim Borg

Bavarian Radio Chorus
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra cond. Ferdinand Leitner

3 LP Album

Compilation Schulwerk I 4.00 stars of 5 stars CD
Carl Orff - Schulwerk Comments:
Music for Children (5 volumes):

Vier Stucke Fur Xylophon
Funf Kleine Kanons
Vier Tanzstucke
Lieder Und Spielstucke
Drei Stucke Fur Flote Und Schlagzeug
Drei Stucke Fur Flote Und Schlagzeug
Sieben Volkstanze
Musik Zur Nacht

Compilation Schulwerk II 4.00 stars of 5 stars CD
Carl Orff - Schulwerk Comments:
2 A Capella Choere: Veni Creator spiritus - O Lux (Cantus Firmus Saetze IV)
8 Stuecke fuer Zwei Violinen
5 Stuecke fuer Sopran-Blockfloete und Schlagzeug
5 Stuecke fuer Floete und Schlagzeug
Spielbuch fuer Xylophon III, Nos. 11-17: 7 Stuecke fuer 2 Xylophone

Madrigalchor der Hochschule fuer Musik cond. Max Frey