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 - Cantiones Profanae / Hickox, London Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 05/30/2017   Label: Musical Concepts  
Catalog: 1336   Number of Discs: 1
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Carl Orff Edition / Kegel, Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig
Release Date: 06/23/2017   Label: Berlin Classics  
Catalog: 300927   Number of Discs: 5
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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 170 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Explosive Classics / Various
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10989 Release Date: 07/21/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi,  Dmitri Kitayenko,  Richard Hickox,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 2.
    The Gundula Janowitz Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797348 Release Date: 07/14/2017   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Gundula Janowitz,  Hedwig Bilgram,  Elmar Schloter,  Marga Höffgen  ... 
    Conductor:  Willfried Boettcher,  John Pritchard,  Karl Richter,  Herbert von Karajan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Hamburg Telemann-Gesellschaft Orchestra,  Munich Bach Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $69.98
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  • 3.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Thielemann, Deutschen Oper Berlin
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4797445 Release Date: 07/07/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Christiane Oelze,  David Kuebler,  Simon Keenlyside
    Conductor:  Christian Thielemann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsche Opera Orchestra Berlin,  Deutsche Opera Chorus Berlin
    On sale! $32.98
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  • 4.
    Carl Orff Edition / Kegel, Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300927 Release Date: 06/23/2017   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus,  Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 5.
    Orff: Carmina Burana - Cantiones Profanae / Hickox, London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1336 Release Date: 05/30/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Penelope Walmsley-Clark,  John Graham-Hall,  Donald Maxwell
    Conductor:  Richard Hickox
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Rhythm & Colours / Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 560929 Release Date: 05/05/2017   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Gustav Mahler,  Claude Debussy,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Gerhaher,  Lawrence Brownlee,  Sally Matthews
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
    On sale! $36.98
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  • 7.
    50 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002596702 Release Date: 12/02/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Bedrich Smetana,  Johannes Brahms,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  David Garrett,  Hélčne Grimaud,  Max Richter,  Daniel Hope  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel,  Rafael Kubelik,  Herbert von Karajan,  André de Ridder  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Konzerthaus Kammerorchester Berlin  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 8.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 9.
    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
    LP: $58.99
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    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
    CD: $20.99
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  • 13.
    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
    CD: $14.99
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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 17.
    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,  Paris Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 18.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Slatkin, McNair, Aler, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88697840052 Release Date: 10/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Sylvia McNair,  John Aler,  Hĺkan Hagegĺrd
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra,  St. Louis Symphony Chorus,  St. Louis Children's Choir
    CD: $6.99
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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    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,  Southend Boys' Choir,  London Philharmonic Choir  ... 
    Conductor:  Alain Lombard,  Zubin Mehta,  Sir Andrew Davis,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    CD: $21.99
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  • 21.
    Orff: Trionfi
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 95116 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Wolfgang Wappler,  Jutta Czapski,  Günther Philipp,  Gerhard Erber  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel
    CD: $17.99
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  • 22.
    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,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Heather Harper  ... 
    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
    On sale! $13.98
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    Es Glanzen Die Sternlein Je Langer Je Mehr ...
    Label: Thorofon   Catalog: 2618 Release Date: 02/10/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Cornelius,  Hugo Wolf,  Edvard Grieg,  Erich Wolff  ... 
    Performer:  Hans-Martin Gräbner,  Peter P. Pachl,  Rebecca Broberg
    CD: $34.99
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  • 25.
    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,  Peter-Jürgen Schmidt  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Otmar Suitner,  Norman Shetler,  Witold Rowicki  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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