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Repertory Archive

Carl Orff



Born in Munich on July 10, 1895, Carl Orff studied at the Munich Academy and later, in 1920, with Kaminski. In 1924, with Dorothee Günther, he founded a school for gymnastics, music and dance, and out of this came his later activity in providing materials for young children to make music, using their voices and simple percussion instruments.

His adult works also seek to make contact with primitive kinds of musical behavior, as represented by ostinato, pulsation and direct vocal expression of emotion. In this he was influenced by Stravinsky (Oedipus Rex and The Wedding), though the models were coarsened to produce music of a powerful pagan sensual appeal and physical excitement. All his major works, including the phenomenally successful Carmina Burana (1937), were designed as pageants for the stage; they include several versions of Greek tragedies and Bavarian comedies. His dramatic works include Der Mond (1939), Catulli Carmine (1943), Trionfo di Afrodite (1953), Comoedia de Christi Resurrectione (1957), Oedipus de Tyrann (1959), Ludus de Nato Infante Mirificus (1960), Ein Sommernachtstraum (1964), Prometheus (1966) and De Temporum Fine Comoedia (1973).

Source: The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians; Macmillan Publishers, Ltd.