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: Orpheus  / Schirmer, Baechle, Selinger, Stiefermann, Munich Radio Orchestra
Release Date: 08/30/2011   Label: Cpo  
Catalog: 777656   Number of Discs: 1
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Orff: Prometheus / Kubelik, Hermann, Lorand, Uhl, Et Al
Release Date: 11/29/1999   Label: Orfeo D'or  
Catalog: 526992   Number of Discs: 2
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Orff: Antigonae / Solti, Goltz, Barth, Kusche, Uhde, Et Al
Release Date: 12/12/1995   Label: Orfeo D'or  
Catalog: 407952   Number of Discs: 2
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Tempora - Alles Hat Seine Zeit / Blank, Carl Orff Chor
Release Date: 12/27/2005   Label: Oehms  
Catalog: 531   Number of Discs: 1
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Carl Orff: Antigonae / Sawallisch, Modl, Radev, Dooley, Kuen, Uhl
Release Date: 03/30/2010   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 9066   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 1-25 of 171 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Orff: Die Kluge / Kegel, Leipzig Radio Symphony
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300748 Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Orff: Die Kluge / Kegel, Leipzig Radio Symphony [Vinyl]
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300747BC Release Date: 08/26/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 3.
    100 Best Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556480 Release Date: 08/05/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Barry Tuckwell,  Mikhail Rudy,  Maria-Joao Pires  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Kent Nagano,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Alberto Lysy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Lysy,  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 4.
    50 Best Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556482 Release Date: 08/05/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Barry Tuckwell,  Mikhail Rudy,  Maria-Joao Pires  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Kent Nagano,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Alberto Lysy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Lysy,  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 5.
    The Sound of Simon Rattle
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556096 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Gustav Holst,  Claude Debussy,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Kate Royal,  Magdalena Kozená
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
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  • 6.
    Awakening
    Label: Shadow Mountain   Catalog: 5146683 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Stephen Nelson,  Giacomo Puccini,  John Newton,  Carl Orff  ... 
    Performer:  Jenny Oaks Baker,  Condoleezza Rice,  Lexi Walker
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  • 7.
    The Originals: 8 Legendary Albums
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002469802 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff,  Martha Argerich,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Anne-Sophie Mutter  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlos Kleiber,  Claudio Abbado,  Rafael Kubelik,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $27.49
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  • 8.
    Decca Sound – Dutoit: The Montreal Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002449102 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 35
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ernest Chausson,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Pascal Rogé,  Timothy Hutchins,  Beverly Hoch,  Stanford Olsen  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chorus
    CD: $117.99
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  • 9.
    Orff: Gisei, das Opfer / Lewek, Lacombe
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777819 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Ulrike Helzel,  Markus Brück,  Jana Kurucova,  Burkhard Ulrich  ... 
    Conductor:  Jacques Lacombe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsche Opera Orchestra Berlin,  Deutsche Opera Chorus Berlin
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  • 10.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 11.
    Ferenc Fricsay - Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon Vol 2
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002346910 Release Date: 07/17/2015   Number of Discs: 37
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Hertha Töpper,  Helmut Krebs,  Ernst Haefliger  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,  St. Hedwig's Cathedral Choir  ... 
    CD: $154.49
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  • 12.
    Simply The Best Classical Anthems
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 550583 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini,  Carl Orff,  Gustav Holst,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Alain Lombard,  Zubin Mehta,  London Philharmonic Choir,  Southend Boys' Choir  ... 
    Conductor:  Alain Lombard,  Zubin Mehta,  Sir Andrew Davis,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
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  • 13.
    Orff: Trionfi
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95116 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Jutta Czapski,  Wolfgang Wappler,  Günther Philipp,  Gerhard Erber  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel
    CD: $17.99
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  • 14.
    Choral Masterpieces
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564614351 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Gregorio Allegri  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Finley,  David Bell,  Robert Tear,  John Shirley-Quirk  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir David Willcocks,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Stephen Cleobury,  Franz Welser-Möst  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Academy of Ancient Music,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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  • 15.
    Carl Orff & Gunild Keetman: Musica Poetica (The Orff-Schulwerk)
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88843064192 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Godela Orff-Büchtemann
    Conductor:  Carl Orff
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich State School of Music Chamber Choir,  Stuttgart Sprechchor,  Instrumental Ensemble
    CD: $22.99
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  • 16.
    Dark Hours: Mystic Moments Of Classical Music
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300613 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gustav Mahler,  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Siegfried Lorenz,  Elka Mitzewa,  Cécile Ousset,  Rosemarie Lang  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Otmar Suitner,  Norman Shetler,  Witold Rowicki  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 17.
    Natalie Dessay: De l'opera a la chanson
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 363956 Release Date: 01/13/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Léo Delibes,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ambroise Thomas,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Roberto Alagna,  Franck Ferrari,  Matthew Rose  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Schoenwandt,  Michel Plasson,  Evelino Pidň,  Louis Langrée  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants,  Le Concert D'Astrée
    CD: $23.99
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  • 18.
    100 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Dg 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  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 19.
    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:  Yeree Suh,  Yves Saelens,  Thomas [Baritone Vocal] Bauer
    Conductor:  Jos van Immerseel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ghent Collegium Vocale,  Cantate Domino Chorus,  Anima Eterna Brugge
    CD: $18.99
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  • 20.
    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  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 21.
    Classics For The People Vol 1 / Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94982 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Sir Edward Elgar  ... 
    Performer:  Wynne Evans,  Donald Maxwell,  Deborah Norman
    Conductor:  Owain Arwel Hughes,  Philip Ellis,  Nick Davies
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Goldsmith's Choral Union Choir
    CD: $11.99
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  • 22.
    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  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 23.
    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  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 24.
    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: $14.99
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  • 25.
    I Don't Like Classical Music, But I Really Like This!
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 74698 Release Date: 06/17/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Carl Orff,  Richard Wagner,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Nigel Woodhouse,  Paul Meyer,  Kolja Blacher,  Eric Le Sage  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Eduardo Mata,  Gustav Kuhn,  Mark Stephenson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus  ... 
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