Carl Orff

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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 (Chamber Version) / Rydinger-alin
Release Date: 10/24/1995   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 734   Number of Discs: 1
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Browse 26-50 of 154 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Carl Orff: Carmina Burana
    Label: Lim   Catalog: 73 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  William [Tenor Vocal] Brown,  Hĺkan [Baritone Vocals] Hagegĺrd,  Judith Blegen
    Conductor:  Robert Shaw
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  • 27.
    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: $249.99
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  • 28.
    Gunter Wand - The Radio Recordings
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 13038 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Olivier Messiaen,  Anton Webern,  Wolfgang Fortner  ... 
    Performer:  Erno Sebestyen,  Margaret Marshall,  Monique [Ondes Martenot] Matagne-Cavailles,  Tiny Wirtz  ... 
    Conductor:  Günter Wand
    CD: $98.99
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  • 29.
    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:  Helen Watts,  Marilyn Tyler,  Birgit Nilsson,  Claudia Hellmann  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  Stanley Black,  Antal Doráti  ... 
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  • 30.
    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
    CD: $88.99
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  • 31.
    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
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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    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  ... 
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  • 34.
    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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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    Orff: Carmina Burana; Catulli Carmina; Trionf Di Afrodite
    Label: Acanta/Pilz   Catalog: 233584 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Roland Hermann,  Barry McDaniel,  Ruth-Margaret Pütz,  Michael [Tenor vocals] Cousins  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner
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  • 37.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Kristjan Jarvi, Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 544621 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Kiera Duffy,  Marco Panuccio,  Daniel Schmutzhard
    Conductor:  Kristjan Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Middle German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Middle German Radio Chorus
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  • 38.
    The Greatest Classical Music Ever!: The Best Classical Music In The Movies Ever!
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 04105 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Stanley Myers,  James Horner,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Steve Morse,  Manuel Barrueco,  James Horner,  David Abel  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Riccardo Muti,  Iain Sutherland,  Eugene Ormandy  ... 
    CD: $7.99
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  • 39.
    Orff: Christmas Works / Schmidt-Gaden, Tolz Boys Choir
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 49898 Release Date: 08/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Conductor:  Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden,  Toby Reiser,  Fritz Schieri,  Hans-Gunter Lenders
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tölz Boys Choir,  Salzburg Shepherd Boys,  Munich State School of Music Chamber Choir  ... 
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  • 40.
    The Art of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001717702 Release Date: 08/21/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Moore,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,  Hermann Töttcher,  Jörg Demus  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Ristenpart,  Ferenc Fricsay,  Otto Gerdes,  Eugen Jochum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Karl Ristenpart Chamber Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 41.
    Great Classical Masterpieces: Bestselling Recordings 1987-2012
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578217 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hildegard of Bingen,  Johannes Brahms,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Carl Orff  ... 
    Performer:  Jénö Jandó,  Norbert Kraft,  Klára Körmendi,  Takako Nishizaki  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeremy Summerly,  István Bogár,  György Lehel,  Stephen Gunzenhauser  ... 
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  • 42.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Oue, Ndr Radiophilharmonie, Hannover Choir
    Label: Rondeau Productions   Catalog: 6030 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Heidi Elisabeth Meier,  Stefan Adam
    Conductor:  Eiji Oue
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hannover Female Choir,  Hannover Boys' Choir,  North German Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Andre Previn
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6787042 Release Date: 03/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff,  Unspecified
    Performer:  Gerald English,  Sheila Armstrong,  Thomas Allen
    Conductor:  André Previn
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  • 44.
    Quartet Movements / Signum Quartet
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5064 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Hugo Wolf,  Giacomo Puccini,  Carl Orff  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Signum Quartet
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  • 45.
    The Most Essential Classical Music In Movies
    Label: X5   Catalog: 111 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Claude Debussy,  Carl Orff,  Pietro Mascagni  ... 
    Performer:  Henrik Mawe,  Jose Perez,  Klemens Schnorr
    Conductor:  Ferdinand Leitner,  David Parry,  Heribert Beissel,  Hanspeter Gmür
    CD: $9.99
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  • 46.
    50 Greatest Pieces Of Classical Music / London Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 105 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Samuel Barber  ... 
    Performer:  Pieter Schoeman,  Finghin Collins,  Craig Ogden
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Orff: Carmina Burana - Version For Soloists, Choir, 2 Pianos And 6 Percussionists
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93280 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Conductor:  Rupert Huber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  SWR Vocal Ensemble
    CD: $18.99
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  • 48.
    The 50 Darkest Pieces Of Classical Music
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 108 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Edvard Grieg,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Ponti,  Finghin Collins,  Roland Pöntinen,  Emmy Berhey  ... 
    Conductor:  Volke Schmidt-Gertenbach,  Heribert Beissel,  David Parry,  James DePreist  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moyzes String Quartet,  Camerata Antonio Lucio,  Capella Istropolitana  ... 
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  • 49.
    Orff: Orpheus  / Schirmer, Baechle, Selinger, Stiefermann, Munich Radio Orchestra
    Label: Cpo   Catalog: 777656 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Janina Baechle,  Michaela Selinger,  Kay Stiefermann,  Marcus Everding
    Conductor:  Ulf Schirmer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Orpheus Choir Munich
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  • 50.
    Orff: Carmina Burana / Handford, Armstrong, Rayner Cook
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 62005 Release Date: 08/19/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Brian Rayner Cook,  Peter Hall,  Sheila Armstrong
    Conductor:  Maurice Handford
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra Chorus,  Hallé Orchestra,  Manchester Grammar School Boys' Choir
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