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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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 26-50 of 170 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    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
    CD: $17.99
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  • 28.
    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! $119.98
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  • 29.
    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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  • 30.
    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
    On sale! $43.98
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  • 31.
    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
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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    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,  Brigitte [Mezzo-Soprano Vocal] Fassbaender,  Helga [Soprano Vocal] Dernesch,  Vera Schlosser  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Sir Georg Solti,  Stanley Black,  Antal Doráti  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 34.
    Wolfgang 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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  • 35.
    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,  André Previn  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 36.
    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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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    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 [Bass-Baritone Vocal] Terfel,  Aled Jones,  Dewi Ellis Jones  ... 
    CD: $8.99
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  • 39.
    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,  Peter Donohoe,  Stomu Yamashta,  Steven Isserlis  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Simon Rattle,  Yuri Temirkanov,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
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  • 40.
    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:  Robert Tear,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Heather Harper,  José Luis Garcia  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Sir David Willcocks,  Wolfgang Sawallisch  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 41.
    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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  • 42.
    Fifty Shades Of Emotions
    Label: Belmondo   Catalog: 53 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Samuel Barber,  Claude Debussy,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    CD: $14.99
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  • 43.
    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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  • 44.
    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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  • 45.
    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  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 46.
    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  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 47.
    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,  Carl Orff,  Henryk Mikolaj Górecki  ... 
    Performer:  Norbert Kraft,  Klára Körmendi,  Takako Nishizaki,  Kathryn Selby  ... 
    Conductor:  Jeremy Summerly,  István Bogár,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Antoni Wit  ... 
    On sale! $4.99
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  • 48.
    Orff: Carmina Burana
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 02306 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Orff
    Performer:  Barbara Hendricks,  Michael Chance,  Jeffrey Black,  Jeffrey [Baritone Vocals] Black  ... 
    Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  St. Alban's Abbey Church Choir,  London Philharmonic Choir
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  • 49.
    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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  • 50.
    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
    CD: $15.99
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