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Carl Orff

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Biography

Born: July 10, 1895; Munich, Germany   Died: March 29, 1982; Munich, Germany  
Although his fame rests on the success of a single work, the famous and frequently commercially mutilated Carmina Burana, Carl Orff was in fact a multi-faceted musician and prolific composer who wrote in many styles before developing the primal, driving language which informs his most famous work. In addition to his fame as the creator of Carmina burana, Orff enjoyed international renown as the world's pre-eminent authority on children's music Read more education, his life's work in that area represented by Musik für Kinder, five eclectic collections of music to be performed by children, eventually developing into a more extensive series known as Orff Schulwerk.

Born in 1895 to an old Bavarian family, Orff studied piano and cello while still a young boy. He later studied at the Munich Academy of Music, graduating in 1914. The music that he composed during this period shows the influence of several composers, including Debussy and Richard Strauss. In 1914, Orff was appointed Kapellmeister at the Munich Kammerspiele, where he remained until joining the military in 1917. Discharged from service the following year, Orff continued to work as a conductor, accepting further positions in Mannheim and Darmstadt during the 1918-1919 seasons. Returning to Munich in 1919, Orff studied composition privately with Heinrich Kaminski while supporting himself as a teacher. In 1924, he founded the Güntherschule for music and dance with Dorothee Günther, dedicating himself to making musical performance accessible to children. Under his guidance, an entire orchestra of special "Orff instruments" was designed, enabling children to play music without formal training. The following year, Orff made three stage adaptations of works by Monteverdi. Continuing his work in the area of Baroque music, Orff became conductor of the Munich Bach society in 1930, a position he held until 1933. The experience of performing Baroque music, particularly sacred works for the stage, convinced Orff that an effective musical performance must fuse music, words and movement, a goal no doubt partly inspired by his work with the Güntherschule. Orff embodied his conception of music in the fabulously successful Carmina Burana (1937), which in many ways defined him as a composer. Based on an important collection of Latin and German Goliard poems found in the monastery of Benediktbeuren, this work exemplifies Orff's search for an idiom that would reveal the elemental power of music, allowing the listener to experience music as a overwhelming, primitive force. Goliard poetry, which not only celebrates love and wine, but also pokes fun at the clergy, perfectly suited Orff's desire to create a musical work appealing to a fundamental musicality that, as he believed, every human being possesses. Eschewing melodic development and harmonic complexity, and articulating his musical ideas through basic sonorities and easily discernible rhythmic patterns, Orff created an idiom which many found irresistible. The perceived "primitivism" of Carmina burana notwithstanding, Orff believed that the profound appeal of music is not merely physical. This belief is reflected by many other works, including musical dramas based on Greek tragedies, namely, Antigonae (1949), Oedipus der Tyrann (1959), and Prometheus (1966). These works, as well as some compositions on Christian themes, followed the composer's established dramatic and compositional techniques, but failed to repeat the tremendous success of Carmina burana. His last work, De temporum fine comoedia (A Comedy About the End of Time) premiered at the 1973 Salzburg Festival. Nine years later, Carl Orff died in Munich, where he had spent his entire life. Read less
Orff: Carmina Burana / Gunzenhauser, Csr Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 06/30/1992   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550196   Number of Discs: 1
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Wind Band Classics - Orff, Bird, Reed / Parker, Peabody Wind Ensemble
Release Date: 08/29/2006   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570242   Number of Discs: 1
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Orff: Carmina Burana / Rutter, Alsop, Bournemouth So, Et Al
Release Date: 01/30/2007   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570033   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 1-25 of 199 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    100 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002188102 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Edvard Grieg,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Herbert von Karajan,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Herbert von Karajan,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theater Violin Ensemble,  Ansbach Bach Week Soloists Union,  Salzburg Mozarteum Camerata Academica  ... 
    On sale! $29.98
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  • 2.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Immerseel, Ghent Collegium Vocale
    Label: Zig Zag   Catalog: 353 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Thomas [Baritone Vocal] Bauer,  Yves Saelens,  Yeree Suh
    Conductor:  Jos van Immerseel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium Vocale,  Cantate Domino Chorus,  Anima Eterna Brugge
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  • 3.
    Seiji Ozawa - The Philips Years: Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002185602 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Mariko Kobayashi,  Everett Firth,  Hiroshi Arimori,  Sawako Yasue  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Saito Kinen Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers  ... 
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    On sale! $179.98
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  • 4.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
    On sale! $199.98
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  • 5.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from DG
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002171502 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Pierre Fournier,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  David Oistrakh,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Franz Konwitschny,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    On sale! $159.98
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  • 6.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Levine, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002132902 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  June Anderson,  Philip Creech,  Bernd Weikl
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus,  Glen Ellyn Children's Choir
    CD: $13.99
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  • 7.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Walker, Synergy Percussion, Australian Virtuosi
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4764225 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Sara Macliver,  Jonathan Summers,  Paul McMahon
    Conductor:  Antony Walker
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Synergy Percussion Quartet,  Cantillation,  Australian Virtuosi
    On sale! $20.98
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  • 8.
    Herbert Blomstedt - The San Francisco Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002032302 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Berwald,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Jard Van Nes,  Elisabeth Norberg-Schulz,  Wolfgang Holzmair,  Wendy Hoffman  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Blomstedt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Chorus,  San Francisco Girls Chorus  ... 
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  • 9.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Tynan, Kennedy, Pogossov, Graf
    Label: Lpo   Catalog: 76 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Rodion Pogossov,  Andrew Kennedy,  Sarah Tynan
    Conductor:  Hans Graf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Choir,  Trinity Boys' Choir
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  • 10.
    The Westminster Legacy
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999302 Release Date: 02/18/2014   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Sena Jurinac,  Lucretia West,  Hans Loeffler,  Frederick Guthrie  ... 
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen,  Pierre Monteux,  René Leibowitz,  Erich Leinsdorf  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Academy Chamber Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 11.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2053674 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  George Frideric Handel
    Performer:  Sally Matthews,  Lawrence Brownlee,  Christian Gerhaher
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 12.
    Carl Orff: Carmina Burana
    Label: Lim   Catalog: 73 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Judith Blegen,  William [Tenor Vocal] Brown,  Hĺkan Hagegĺrd
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw
    On sale! $43.98
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  • 13.
    Teldec - 50-CD Collection
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 643851 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  András Schiff,  Josef Protschka,  Barbara Bonney,  Edita Gruberova  ... 
    Conductor:  Iván Fischer,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Carlo Rizzi,  Reinbert De Leeuw  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Festival Orchestra,  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $299.98
    CD: $230.49
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  • 14.
    Karajan - 1970s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001873702 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 82
    Composer:  Arcangelo Corelli,  Francesco Manfredini,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Brandis,  Michel Schwalbé,  Karlheinz Zöller,  Edith Mathis  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Hans Priem Bergrath
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus  ... 
    CD: $313.99
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  • 15.
    Music Of Steel - Heroic Themes From The Movies
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001871502 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John T. Williams,  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Strauss,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Birgit Nilsson,  Berit Lindholm,  Helen Watts,  Brigitte [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Fassbaender  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir G. Solti,  Stanley Black,  Antal Doráti  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 16.
    Sawallisch Conducts Mozart, Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Haydn, Schubert, Orff
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 12041 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Jan Pospichal,  Ernst Weissensteiner,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Wolfgang Klos  ... 
    Conductor:  Wolfgang Sawallisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
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  • 17.
    50 Best London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333092 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Béroff,  Jeanne Loriod,  Simon Preston,  Gervase de Peyer  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 18.
    Micromania: 85 Piano Miniatures
    Label: Tyx Art   Catalog: 12009 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Hugo Distler,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Matthias Veit
    CD: $24.99
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  • 19.
    Classical Barbra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 192255 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Joseph Canteloube,  Hugo Wolf,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Barbra Streisand,  Claus Ogerman
    Conductor:  Claus Ogerman
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  • 20.
    Label: Net Fx   Catalog: 4780792 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robat Arwyn,  Karl Jenkins,  César Franck,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Rhys Meirion,  Bryn Terfel,  Aled Jones,  Dewi Ellis Jones  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 21.
    Essential 20th Century Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 234372 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Aram Khachaturian,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Cécile Ousset,  Peter Donohoe,  Stomu Yamashta  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Simon Rattle,  Yuri Temirkanov,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
    CD: $12.99
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  • 22.
    Essential Choral
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 234422 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Heather Harper,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Robert Tear,  Peter Barley  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir David Willcocks,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 23.
    Carl Orff: Carmina Burana
    Label: Hi. Q   Catalog: 8 Release Date: 11/20/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Conductor:  André Previn
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  • 24.
    Fifty Shades Of Emotions
    Label: Belmondo   Catalog: 53 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Samuel Barber,  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
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  • 25.
    Eugene Ormandy Conducts 20th Century Classics
    Label: Sony (Nax615)   Catalog: 417202 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  John Williams,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Van Cliburn,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Mendelssohn Club Chorus Philadelphia,  Rutgers University Chorus
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